Posted by: kgaboury | April 17, 2014

The Human Element – Kevin Gaboury

When it comes to procuring qualitative data, I believe there is nothing more powerful than the face-to-face interview. In “Analyzing Talk and Text,” the author highlighted an interview with British playwright Dennis Potter. Potter, terminally ill with cancer, spoke about his imminent death and the creativity that arose from it. This piqued my curiosity, so I looked it up:

The result is a moving portrait of a man who is fully aware he’s going to die, but instead of falling into despondence, he reflects on life, his identity as an Englishman, politics, and the press with humor and clarity. As a researcher, talking to people can yield the most powerful and telling data, especially if you ask the right questions. One thing I’m curious about is how interviews done for research differ from journalistic interviews. While working as a journalist and writing profile or human-interest pieces, I sometimes felt like I was just looking for the best “sound bytes” (quotes) while barely scratching the surface of who a person really was. Did any of the other former journalists in the class encounter this same issue in their careers? What techniques did you use to really get someone to open up? How do you think interview questions should differ between qualitative research and journalism?



  1. These are great questions Kevin! We’ll talk about this in detail the week of May 15 when we talk about using interviews as a research method. Good stuff!

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