TAYJ026 Interview as a means of data generation 3–5 ECTS
Period I Period II Period III Period IV
Language of instruction
Type or level of studies
Postgraduate studies
Course unit descriptions in the curriculum
Yliopiston yhteiset tohtoriopinnot
Doctoral School

General description

Learning outcomes: After the course, the students are familiar with different ways of conducting interviews, have a thorough understanding of the contextual nature and key features of interaction in interviews, and are able to critically evaluate studies based on interview data.

Teacher in charge: Matti Hyvärinen

Lecturers: Lotta Junnilainen, Mari Korpela,  Pirjo Nikander, Ilkka Pietilä, Eeva Puumala, Markku Sippola, Rebecca Lund

Course description:

Interviewing is one of the classic means of data collection. Recently, it is often framed more in terms of an interactional encounter instead of simple data gathering or collection.  Consequently, the emphasis is moving from questioning towards listening and encouraging. This course consists of four days of contact teaching, lectures from researchers with extensive expertise of various forms of interviews as well as workshops, in which the students have the chance to introduce their own research projects. The course covers key elements pertinent to data generation through interviewing as well as expert lectures on one-on-one interviews, focus groups, and interviews in narrative and ethnographic research. The workshops, based on student presentations on their ongoing doctoral thesis, provide a joint discussion platform to develop key questions, open up questions on various steps of the interview process, and to raise special questions linked with different data generation traditions. The discussions provide students the opportunity to share joint problems, and to receive feedback and new ideas from fellow students and lecturers on their research designs and analytic procedure.

Teaching: Contact teaching covers 22 hours (16 hours of lectures and 6 hours of workshops).

Pre-assignment: Before the course, enrolled students are expected to write a one page description of their own doctoral research, introducing research topics and questions, data utilized, and possible analytic methods in use. The pre-assignment should also include each participant’s prior ideas and potential concerns regarding generating interview data. The students will reconsider these ideas and concerns in their reflection papers that are prepared after the contact teaching period. Detailed instructions will be made available to enrolled students through Moodle.

Course reading: tba

Number of students: 25 students, of which 10 will have an opportunity to introduce their own research project to other participants. Selection will be made on the basis of pre-assignments. Enrolment period 1.8.-15.8.2018.

Study credits: Students introducing their own research in the workshops will receive 5 ECTS and other students 3 ECTS. For completing the course all students are expected to conduct the pre-assignment, actively participate in contact teaching, and prepare a reflection paper (3-5 pages) focusing on how the course has improved their skills to plan and conduct interviews as well as increased their understanding of data generation and analysis of interviews. Students’ presentations in workshops will consist of 10-15 minutes’ talks and a written summary (1 page) of the project. In addition, each presenter is also supposed to act as a discussant for another student’s presentation.

Preliminary schedule:


Thu, Sep 6

Room C6 (Main building)

10 :15 - 12 Matti Hyvärinen : «Introduction « Interviewing or asking questions ? »

12 :30 – 14 Markku Sippola : « Recruitment of interviewees: Problems and biases.”

14 :15 – 16 WORKSHOP : participants’ papers


Wed Sep 12

Room A3 (Main building)

10 :15 - 12 Pirjo Nikander : «Key (and difficult) questions to anyone planning to use and analyse interview data”

12:30  Mari Korpela: ”Interviewing in ethnographic research”

14 :15 – 16  WORKSHOP : participants’ papers


Thu Sep 13

Room C6 (Main building)

10 :15 – 12  Lotta Junnilainen : "Interviewing in ethnographic research on urban inequality”

12 :30 -14  Ilkka Pietilä : «Focus groups »

14 :15 – 16  WORKSHOP : participants’ papers


Fri Sep 14

Room C6 (Main building)

10:15 – 12 Eeva Puumala: “Transcultural interviews”

12:30 – 14 Rebecca Lund: “Interviewing in institutional ethnography”

Enrolment for University Studies

Enrolment time has expired


Matti Hyvärinen, Teacher responsible


6-Sep-2018 – 14-Sep-2018