OK, the interviews are in the can. 7 in all, and I’m really grateful to my colleaugues for participating.
I’ve taken detailed notes from each one, not quite full transcripts but enough for me to have an accurate, unvarnished written record of what was said. I’ve put timecodes at certain points so I know where to look in each audio file to get a direct quote should I need one.
I’m really pleased with the depth and variety of responses I got from my participants. Each interview was slightly different from the previous. This was down mainly to each person having a different set of experiences (so an equal emphasis on the questions wouldn’t have been appropriate) and that I let the conversations flow as much as I could. The wording of my questions was slightly different for each person as well but my initial take is that I managed to get comparable answers from everyone.
The next task is to identify the main themes. Guy’s advice was to start by creating a long list of possible themes and then progressively narrowing down to the definitive list.
I’m going to create a matrix with 5 main topic areas;
- Nature of storytelling
- Benefits within an organisation
- Team and personal development
- Organisational conditions
…then cut and paste the relevant responses from each of the participants. I may even do this using paper, scissors and glue. There’s going to be a lot of info and a laptop screen may not be enough.
Straight out of the blocks, the thing which has interested me most about the responses was the lack of emphasis on technical skills and technologies. People mostly talked about storytelling and a great deal of that was about the organisational culture needing to be one that encourages openness. There’s an inherent vulnerability to being a storyteller and the conditions have to be right for that to these approaches to flourish it seems.
[Apologies for typos. I’m on a wobbly train so finger accuracy is suffering.]
I’m now 2 interviews into my data collection and it’s going really well.
Both have ended up being about 35-40 mins rather than the hour I’d anticipated but even at that length they’re generating lots of useful and unexpected stuff that links very closely with the reading I’ve been doing.
I think longer interviews would be exhausting for the participants and it’s taking me about 90 mins to listen back to them and take notes. With 6 participants, that a lit of work even before I start analysing the data.
On a first listen there are some emerging themes that I’ll be able to use as slices but I won’t say what they are at this stage. Some of the participants read the blog and I don’t want to influence what they say in the interviews.
Guy had a great suggestion of “participant checking” which I’m going to do after I’ve done my initial analysis. It will mean probably getting all the participants together (probably using video conferencing) to discuss whether the themes I’m identifying actually reflect what they see as being accurate.
As for conducting the interviews, I hope I’m being a good researcher. I’m trying to use all the skills I developed as a coach at Siemens:
using open questions
reflecting back answers using the language the participant used
probing and asking for elaboration
leaving enough room for the participant to answer fully
maintaining eye contact and all that stuff
only taking the minimum of notes. It helps me to listen closely but means I can give the interviewee as much attention as possible.
I seem to be eliciting lots of extended, sophisticated responses so far so I’ll keep on with that approach.
I am detecting my greasy fingerprints in some of their answers; the outcomes of some of the sessions I’ve done, converstaions I’ve had and so on. I’ll need to make sure that I’ve written clearly about what my infuence on the answers might have been in my methodology section.
1 more interview this week then 3 next. I’m liking this feeling of momentum.