Good books or resources for interview techniques

11 Nov 2009 - 11:05am
4 years ago
11 replies
3986 reads
Liou Yamane
2008

I just did a short focus group and light usability test with a couple of children. What I noticed is how important the phrasing of interview questions and usability tasks is, especially with children but also with adults in general.

Has anybody recommendations for books or other resources that can help me in phrasing questions and tasks as neutral as possible?

PS. I found http://www.ixda.org/discuss.php?post=6191 but I thought that the books are rather general and broad.

Comments

11 Nov 2009 - 7:02pm
Paul Bryan
2008

Hi Liou,

My blog discusses interview techniques for design research. It is
called Virtual Floorspace, reflecting its focus on e-commerce design
strategy, so I'm not sure it applies to your domain of practice. To
give you an idea about the contents, here are some sample topics:

Selecting Participants
http://www.virtualfloorspace.com/2009/08/depth-interviews-selecting-participants/

Interview Questions To Understand Motivations
http://www.virtualfloorspace.com/?s=In-Depth Interviews: User
Motivations

Interview Data Matters For UX Design
http://www.virtualfloorspace.com/2009/08/what-customer-data-matters-for-ux-design/

Interview Data to Capture for Personas
http://www.virtualfloorspace.com/2009/09/using-personas-to-guide-web-design/

Interview Techniques For Obtaining A Case History
http://www.virtualfloorspace.com/?s=case history

Depth Interviews vs. Surveys in Design Research
http://www.virtualfloorspace.com/2009/09/depth-interviews-vs-surveys-in-design-research/

Paul Bryan
Usography (http://www.usography.com)
Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/uxexperts
Blog: Virtual Floorspace (http://www.virtualfloorspace.com)

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12 Nov 2009 - 8:49am
Chauncey Wilson
2007

Hi,

Here are some books that you might find useful. The best books on
interviewing probably come from the anthropology, psychology, and
sociology domains.

I'm finishing a book where I include chapters on the three basic types
of interviews: structured, semi-structured, and unstructured. In many
studies we use a hybrid interview method (start with structured
questions and then move to semi-structured for example). Many books
focus on individual interviews so for group interviewing, there are
also a number of good books. Here are few. My full list is on aother
machine at home so I'll do an update, but here is a start:

Kvale, S. (1996). InterViews: An introduction ot qualitative research
interviewing. Thousands Oaks, CA: Sage.

Robson, C. (2002). Real world research (Second edition). Malden, MA:
Blackwell Publishing.
This book is an excellent reference in that it covers many methods of
research that includes some background. It covers all types of
interviews, focus groups, and other techniques like card sorting, and
the development of Likert scales (versus Likert-like scales). This is
a very good handbook that is readable and practical with advice and
supporting references.

Fontana, A., & Frey, J. H. (2000). The interview: From structured
questions to negotiated text. In N. K. Denzin, and Y. S. Lincoln
((Eds.). Handbook of Qualitative Research (Second Edition). Thousands
Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 645-672.

Spradley, J. P. (1979). The ethnographic interview. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

More to come.

Chauncey

On Wed, Nov 11, 2009 at 11:05 AM, Liou Yamane <liouyamane at yahoo.com> wrote:
> I just did a short focus group and light usability test with a couple of children. What I noticed is how important the phrasing of interview questions and usability tasks is, especially with children but also with adults in general.
>
> Has anybody recommendations for books or other resources that can help me in phrasing questions and tasks as neutral as possible?
>
> PS. I found http://www.ixda.org/discuss.php?post=6191 but I thought that the books are rather general and broad.
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
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16 Nov 2009 - 12:10pm
Liou Yamane
2008

Paul, you certainly have some useful articles there. Chauncey, thank
your for tips as well!

I was wondering though if there is a more applied chapter in some
usability book. Or a journalist's guide for that matter. Where for
example the structured/semi-structured/open questioning style is
explained. I'll dig into it.

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16 Nov 2009 - 4:13pm
Michele Marut
2005

Liou,

For a basic applied chapter on interviews, I recommend the one in
Understanding Your Users: A Practical Guide to User Requirements
Methods, Tools, and Techniques (Interactive Technologies) (Paperback)
~ Catherine Courage (Author), Kathy Baxter (Author)
http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Your-Users-Requirements-Technologies/dp/1558609350

They also include book references for more extensive reading.

- Michele

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16 Nov 2009 - 11:05pm
Kate Walser
2007

Hi Liou,

"Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In" is
invaluable when it comes to asking questions in a way that helps you
discover what you don't know to ask about and understand more about
the interviewee to ask relevant questions.

It's not an IXD/UXD focused book, but I recommend it to anyone new
to the IXD profession as it helps you learn how to more effectively
communicate with anyone, and especially in situations where you need
to ask objective, open questions in a non-leading way that puts the
interviewee at ease.

Available on Amazon or most local bookstores...
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0140157352?ie=UTF8&tag=katwal-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0140157352

It's also very handy when you have interviewees who are not
talkative or who are combative/defensive. It's useful beyond
interviewing and will help you in project negotiations, tense
customer situations, and even at home with family, friends, and
children.

Good luck!
Kate

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16 Nov 2009 - 12:57pm
Sean Phelan
2008

I think this is a really important part of usability interviewing that
is not given enough focus. The technique I woudl recommend is
actually from job interviews called behavioural interviewing.

"Behavioral interviewing is a style of interviewing that was
developed in the 1970's by industrial psychologists. Behavioral
interviewing asserts that "the most accurate predictor of future
performance is past performance in a similar situation." "

You will find some information on HR sites and anything about
recruiting.

Sorry don't have time to dig out the specific articles.

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17 Nov 2009 - 9:21am
Dru
2009

Kate, et al...Getting to Yes - YES - everyone should own. Was a
lifesaver in negotiating my divorce and again in negotiating for
salary. Sorry - I realize this is not the point of the post but to
Kate's point - this little book has a great way of explaining human
nature's reaction to questions/propositions.
Dru

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27 Nov 2009 - 4:11am
Liou Yamane
2008

Wow, thanks for the responses! (And sorry for the late reply. It's
not easy to track this). Behavioural interviewing seems good if I
want to get a new job :) And "Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement
without Giving In" seems good for all other negotational situations.

A bit out of the scope I was looking for though(how to formulate
questions), but still useful.

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27 Nov 2009 - 12:09pm
Andrew Travers
2009

Liou,

It doesn't seem to have been mentioned by others so far, so I'd
very strongly recommend Kim Goodwin's 'Designing for the Digital
Age' - it has a whole section dedicated to design research
interviews, how to structure questions and generally strong tips and
advice:

http://www.cooper.com/insights/books/

Andrew

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30 Nov 2009 - 4:12pm
Matt Nish-Lapidus
2007

There's a good section about doing qualitative research interviews in
Indi Young's Mental Models book, it's a good starting point if you
haven't done that sort of work before.

http://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/mental-models/

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1 Dec 2009 - 6:51am
Liou Yamane
2008

@Andrew and @Matthew, thanks for the input. I'll definitely take a
look at Kim Goodwin's book.

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