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Test interview

November 17, 2010

I just completed a test interview with a friend of mine. I wanted to give the equipment I plan on using a thorough test as well as give my questions another once over. Overall, it went well. My friend is an active Twitter user, so I got some good content about the Twitter perspective of the research. The equipment worked flawlessly. My friend had never used Skype before, so he was eager to give it a try.

What I didn’t get a chance to explore was PLN’s and the relationship between Twitter and PLN’s, but that is okay. The warm up served it’s purpose in getting me comfortable with listening and responding to answers from a research participant, and letting the conversation flow. In essence, doing a phenomenological interview.

One thing I am going to have to be better at is thinking of how to phrase follow up questions for topics that organically arise on the fly from the interview. For example, my friend touched briefly on balancing the public and personal aspects of using Twitter and how he felt he had to balance those when posting on Twitter. I wanted to ask him more about this, but couldn’t think of a way to phrase the follow up question.

I also was keenly aware that he had been talking for quite a length of time, and felt the need to rush to the conclusion towards the end of the interview. I was beginning to feel like I was imposing on his time, and as a result I probably didn’t probe deeply enough on some of the questions. I am going to have a tough time balancing that feeling of imposition with the need to gather information.

I did feel quite good about letting the silences hang, and fighting the urge to jump in at the first long pause. I was worried about this because pauses run counter to my radio training where you need to keep things moving and avoid lengthy pauses. Yet there were a few instances where a lengthy pause seemed to act as a prompt for my friend and he went deeper into a topic, or added a few more examples to a point. Silence is my friend. But again, I can’t help but feel that silence, while effective, can be disconcerting when speaking on Skype/phone. I often wonder if my silence is being perceived as a “hey, are you listening to me?” instead of a prompt waiting for more information.

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From → Thesis Research

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