Interviewing for Social Scientists by Hilary Arksey and Peter Knight

Chapter 7 tries to break interviews down, however at its maximum depth the advice would work equally well for a Star Trek episode: start off with something familiar, build some drama, end on a joke. It seems that the practice has run way ahead of theory.

Luckily, psychology can shed some light as Building Rapport seems a mixture of Cialdini Influence Attributes: affability (know what they know, look similar or respectable), showing that other people do this (with outlandish viewpoints ) to goad interaction, reciprocation, and a scarce good (attention).

The rest seems an acknowledgment that interviewing works well for quick and dirty surveying of new territory, to provide initial data to feed into larger works with greater policy implications.

Chapter 1, Interviewing in the social sciences
interviews work for personal level and unusual contexts, all else amenable to larger-scale data gathering
Interviewer seeks the informants' stories and perspectives. The informants govern what is discovered. Allows one to hear the voice of people who might not respond to written questions. Greater danger than with written questionnaires of mianly getting responses from the more confident members of the target group.
Chapter 1, Characteristics of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured interviews
Another interview-based study of occupational health and safety in the fishing industry highlighted the significance of interviewer characteristics and also shows how these can be used to advantage by a team ...
there were four interviewers: a woman with sailing knowledge, two older men with work and/or fishing knowledge, and a younger man who knew only about this work from books...
the young man failed ... his lack of familiarity with the trade meant that he was not treated with seriousness.
The woman ... could take the role of the 'dumb broad' an dask naive questoins that would expose answers that would be hidden by assumptions were the interviewer more expert-seeming... accessing tacit information...
Chapter 1, Box 1.2, The value of being a participant researcher
Some typical probes used in oral history:
  1. Detail-oriented probes. e.g. When did that happen? Who else was involved?
  2. Disconfirmation probes. e.g. That's interesting. I've heard other people say...
  3. Amplification probes. e.g. Can you help me to understand better your position/ why you felt that way / why you say that?
  4. Clarification probes. e.g. Could you give me an example of that please, or tell me a story about it?
  5. Explanatory probes. e.g. Could you help me to understand better why it happened / what happened/ why you felt like that
  6. Category probes. e.g. Was that also true for another aspect of life / at another time / all the time?
  7. Significance probes. e.g. Was this something you felt strongly about / that was important to you/ had big effects / mattered a lot
  8. Silent prompts. e.g. nodding head, hand movement, silence or eye contact to encourage the informant to keep on talking
  9. Chapter 6, Box 6.3
Unusual contexts good good good
New contexts with clear, familiar features good not good not good
Routine social contexts good not good bad