Cambridge Studies of Religion - Hajj
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ATC students use the APA citation style (6th edition) to reference their sources.
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The Inquiry Process applied to Ethnographic Investigation
Before the interview/observation phase of the study, students should have significant background information about the subject that will inform the questions used.
Background information/Research phase
Study of Religion Senior Syllabus, 2008, p.44 – 45
How to conduct interviews
Interviews are a method of primary data collection involving personal contact where the interviewer asks the interviewee questions about a topic in person, by phone or via the Internet using technologies such as chat rooms, webcam and Voice Over the Internet Protocol (VOIP). The responses provide detailed qualitative information which the researcher can analyse to provide quantitative data.
Researching the topic is essential for providing the background to enable you to develop your questions for the interview. You want to appear knowledgeable on the subject so it is important to have a grasp of dates, facts and issues that are central to the subject. Designing and asking relevant questions in a clear way is the other starting point. Work on the design and use of open-ended and closed questions and consider the levels of questions.
Explaining the research
It is important to write an introduction to your research participants. They are an important part of the research process and they need to understand the purpose of the research and the nature of their involvement. This is a part of the ethical guidelines for research.
Introduce yourself providing details about:
An introduction may be in the form of a letter, email or phone call.
Conduct the interview
Before interviewing begins a pilot interview is good practice. This allows you to ask your questions and identify any problems.
Choosing an appropriate person to interview is important. An introductory letter is a means of establishing contact. Following up with a phone call or email to confirm the time and place of the interview.