Reading Response 4- Merriam

Conducting Effective Interviews

  • face-to-face helps gather feelings behind thoughts/intentions
  • How do people interpret their world?
  • past events
  • case studies

Asking Good Questions

  • open-ended questions, not yes/no questions
  • not just factual- how do they feel?
  • Different questions yeild different answers
  • Wording of questions varies results greatly
  1. Experience/behavior
  2. Opinion/values
  3. “Feelings”
  4. Knowledge
  5. Sensory
  6. Background/demographic


Being a Careful Observer

  • Observation is routine – conscious or not
  • Several sides to an observation
  • Know your purpose- what you’re looking for.  Helps when it comes to detail
  1. Physical Setting- What kinds of behavior is the setting designed for?
  2. The participants- What brings these people together?
  3. Activities and interactions- How are people and activities connected?  Patterns and frequencies of interaction?
  4. Conversation- Content? Quoting.
  5. Subtle factors: nonverbal, dress/ body language, what doesn’t happen?
  6. Your own behavior- What thoughts are you having about what is going on?
  • Natural observation


Although I will be utilizing both interviewing and observing for my topic, I believe that observation will be more useful to my I-Search paper.  My question I am posing for project two is investigating the effects of setting goals and targets to higher success rates.  I am the guest services department manager at my store, so naturally I am curious as how I can raise my crew’s actual performance and not just our number results we can fudge to look more impressive.  In order to see how my employees work on a daily basis, it would be more successful for them to not know they are being watched.  Conducting natual observation would be easy in my store, seeing as how I am a familiar face.  If I walk up to them and make them aware of what I am testing, the results would not be accurate.  With that being said, interviewing would also be helpful to my research.  Since my work place is so familiar and routine to me, getting a fresh pair of eyes’ perspective may be more beneficial than I expect.


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