Qualitative Data

Qualitative Data

What are the benefits and detriments to individual interviews and group interviews? with references Glesne, C. (2016). Becoming qualitative researchers. (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

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When it comes to participant selection there can be a struggle for researchers between personal situations and social agendas (Reybold et al., 2012). There are different types of interviews structured, semistructured, unstructured or conversational (Glesne, 2016). By doing an individual interview a semistructured approach can be used to develop questions based on the interaction (Glesne, 2016). There are benefits to having an individual interview allows for the researcher to have a deeper level of conversation and allows for a deeper understanding that does not come from random sampling (Reybold et al., 2012).

The detriments of having an individual interview are that participants might not want to share a personal example from their life depending on the topic (Glesne, 2016). Glesne (2016) recommends doing topical interviews that focus more on a program or issue versus people’s personal lives and keeping the participant on a topic versus random talking.

The benefits of a group interview are allowing support from a family member in the example of a child being interviewed (Glesne, 2016). When it comes to researching a particular experience or topic Glesne (2016) recommends multiple perspectives on a similar experience to understand the impacts of the situation on different people. Group interviews can help the researcher save time by hearing feedback at once versus multiple situations (Glesne, 2016).

The detriments to a group interview are that participants might develop group think or allow one person to dominate the interview session. Glesne (2016) presents the idea that the researcher needs to be able to moderate the group, but sometimes the discussion might move too quickly for the researcher to collect all the data. Participants might not be honest if their view is different than the group (Glesne, 2016).

When it comes to the researcher choosing whether to have individual or group interviews they need to ‘think forward’ or ‘reflect back’ due to the potential impacts on the study outcome (Reybold et al., 2012). It is important to keep in mind that whether individual or group interviews are conducted that based on events and time the outcomes could be a critical feature for participants (Reybold et al., 2012). When designing the study the researcher needs to determine if one interview is enough or if multiple are needed due to the event or time (Reybold et al., 2012).


Glesne, C. (2016). Becoming qualitative researchers. (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Reybold, L. E., Lammert, J. D., & Stribling, S. M. (2012). Participant selection as a conscious research method: thinking forward and the deliberation of ‘Emergent’ findings (Links to an external site.). Qualitative Research, 13(6) 699-716.

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