"The whole movement of life is learning" (Krishnamurti). "To be an act of knowing, then, the adult literacy process must engage the learners in the constant problematizing of their existential situations" (Freire). "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free" (Douglass). "I can learn anything I have the desire to learn" (White, S.G.).

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Techniques for interviews (1-2-3 case design)

If there was one item I pulled from the group conversation in class the other night, it's that there seems to be a method to interviewing that may work best for this type of project. Our projects, formulated around some sort of literacy process (prose, document, quantitative) are not designed to find one quick solution. Instead, we are looking to discover (from various viewpoints) how this process is perceived by every stakeholder. To gain these viewpoints, most of us plan to do some sort of interview with these stakeholders. To gain the most from these interviews, I think it's important to use some sort of strategy for each level of interviewing.

I'd be glad (and thankful) to hear from each classmate on their progress and personal strategies for approaching these interviews. The focus of my interview is going to be the student first and the advisor second. From each perspective, I'm trying to understand where the disconnect is happening when using our resources and why they are unable to do so efficiently. The most useful piece of my interview is going to be sitting down and watching both the student and the advisor USE our resources WITHOUT my guidance. During this process, I hope to pause when necessary and ask what it is that's causing trouble, carefully documenting each remark. Maybe it's that they actually have trouble reading the language in our articulations or maybe it's that they can read it, but don't understand it. Pausing during the times the interviewee is having trouble and allowing for feedback/reflection will help in a big way I believe.

Taking a 180 degree turn, I'm also going to interview the members of my office- trying to garner their opinions on the matter. Not sure if having them walk me through the process will help- they do this everyday. This is where the sociocultural lens comes in to play. Since I know they can read and understand the articulations and know how to use our resources in tandem with the articulations, I want to understand how they perceive these processes (literacies are read and understood in many different ways- I want to see if there opinion differs from mine). How concerned are they with the ability of the students and advisors to read, understand/comprehend and use the articulations? What are the challenges associated with understanding articulations/what are they getting in terms of feedback?

What is your approach going to be?


  1. Jason, thank you for mapping this out! I do think that your use of some combination if open ended and semi-structured interviews, as well as think-alouds, may be useful. (Three very different yet complimentary techniques). We have not offed think alouds in class, so let me know if you are looking for some info on them. Also, your sequence is intriguing! Doing students first and advisors second makes perfect sense. Now, regarding your colleagues at VCU, I could see the advantage of having them predict (before) and then read (after) your findings with the first two groups....? Good luck and it will be good to hear from others. B.

  2. Hi Jason,
    It sounds like you've got a solid plan in place for approaching your interviews, and I just had a thought about what the student interviews might look like....Will you have prompts for the students to use the resources, note the difficulties you perceive while they're working on the tasks, and then go back and ask about their experience or will you ask them what they're experiencing as they
    use the resources?

  3. I'm interested to see if there is a disparity in your results. That is, the people in your office may have an entirely different idea of what the problem is compared to the students or advisors. Maybe interview your office mates first for their "theories" as to what the problem is, collect the top two or three, and then keep those in mind (don't become biased in favor of one or the other!) as you interview the students and advisors. Just a thought


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this post. Diverse opinions are welcomed.