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The Science and Art of Interviewing

Kathleen Gerson and Sarah Damaske

10 December 2020

ISBN: 9780199324293

304 pages

In Stock

Price: £18.99



In The Science and Art of Interviewing, Kathleen Gerson and Sarah Damaske offer clear, theoretically informed and empirically rich strategies for conducting interview studies. Presenting both a rationale and guide to the science-and art-of in-depth interviewing to take readers through all the steps in the research process, Gerson and Damaske show readers how to develop a research design for interviewing, decide on and find an appropriate sample, construct a questionnaire, conduct probing interviews, and analyze the data they collect.

  • Provides a step by step roadmap for conducting interview studies that are theoretically grounded and follow scientific principles based on the logic of inquiry.
  • Addresses the predictable but rarely discussed challenges that confront interviewers as they develop a question, design and carry out the research, and present their findings
  • Includes a set of exercises to help readers put this advice into practice, model questionnaires, interview transcriptions, coding sheets, and other research tools
  • Fills gap in the literature by explaining how depth interviewing provides theoretical and empirical insights than other methods cannot
  • Challenges the view that interviewing is not a useful method for answering the central questions of the day

About the Author(s)

Kathleen Gerson, Professor of Sociology and Collegiate Professor of Arts and Science, New York University, and Sarah Damaske, Associate Professor of Sociology and Labor & Employment Relations, The Pennsylvania State University

Kathleen Gerson is Professor of Sociology and Collegiate Professor of Arts and Science at New York University. She is the author of The Unfinished Revolution: Coming of Age in a New Era of Gender, Work, and Family (Oxford, 2011) and The Time Divide: Work, Family, and Gender Inequality (with Jerry A. Jacobs, 2004). Sarah Damaske is Associate Professor of Sociology and Labor & Employment Relations at The Pennsylvania State University. She is the author of For the Family? How Class and Gender Shape Women's Work (Oxford, 2011).

Table of Contents

    Chapter 1: Depth Interviewing as Science and Art
    Chapter 2: Getting Started: Pinning Down the Questions and Research Design
    Chapter 3: Interviews with Whom? When a Big Question Meets a Small Sample
    Chapter 4: Constructing an Interview Guide: Creating a Flexible Structure
    Chapter 5: Conducting Interviews: Seeking Discoveries That Matter
    Chapter 6: Analyzing Interviews: Making Sense of Complex Material
    Chapter 7: Pulling It All Together: Telling Your Story and Making Your Case
    Appendix A: Examples of Recruitment Documents and Procedures
    Appendix B: Examples of Consent Forms
    Appendix C: Interview Schedules


"All in all, The Science and Art of Interviewing has two substantial achievements. First, it makes a compelling case for interviewing. It convinces us that it is a powerful tool to uncover rarely observed or even taken-for-granted phenomena given that interviews facilitate 'opening the black box' of individual or organisational processes that are otherwise difficult to observe. Metaphorically speaking, they allow us to get into the kitchen where the dish is being cooked and talk to many different actors that take part in the process. Through this, we get to know key actors, interact with them and uncover processes through their experiences. Second, as interviewing is a laborious, demanding task and process, from identifying our research puzzles to reporting our findings, this book guides us through constructing the road to the end of the research tunnel where enlightenment may dazzle us." - LSE Review of Books

"Recent debates around interviewing have raised awareness about the centrality of this method to the social sciences, and about how to make sense of the data. This new book by master interviewers Kathleen Gerson and Sarah Damaske is destined to become the new 'go-to' for learning and teaching about best practices, tricks of the trade, ad recent controversies. It is sure to become the Learning from Strangers for the new generations of scholars. I recommend it wholeheartedly!" - Michele Lamont, Harvard University, and Former president of the American Sociological Association

"Building on Gerson and Damaske's own highly esteemed interview-based work as well as on that of numerous other social researchers, The Science and Art of Interviewing explores the intellectual, ethical, and practical mechanics of 'depth interviewing.' Stressing both scientific rigor and artistic creativity, it walks the reader through the various steps of the interview-based research process — from sampling and recruiting, through listening(!) and probing, to adapting to surprises and contradictions — offering future researchers the best possible advice on how to capture people's 'voice thereby realizing the very goal of 'verstehen,' interpretive sociology." - Eviatar Zerubavel, author of Generally Speaking and The Clockwork Muse

"In this lively and multi-faceted book, Gerson and Damaske provide a useful and comprehensive guide to in-depth interview research — a fresh update to classic handbooks by Glaser and Strauss, Merton, Weiss, and others. Chock-full of examples from the works of contemporary scholars, The Science and Art of Interviewing will prove a valuable reference to researchers across the social sciences." - Mario Small, Grafstein Family Professor of Sociology, Harvard University