23 September 2009

Open-ended interview

In order to fulfil ecological validity, an interview should follow some of the following features:

a. make the interview situation familiar/comfortable for the interviewee;

b. conduct the interview in his/her space;

c. act like a real person, not as a researcher;

d. do not consult a written list of questions;

e. try to approximate ordinary conversation;

f. show interest;

g. let the interviewee show/tell you what is important and then ask him/her about that.

An open-ended interview is a poweful tool to give a fuller picture of the participants’ everyday linguistic and cultures practices (Briggs, 1986) where the self-making is constructed and performed meaningfully.


Briggs, C. (1986). Learning how to ask: A sociolinguistic appraisal of the role of the interview in social science research. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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