Note taking is fundamental to the in-depth interviewing process and an essential interviewer skill. And yet note taking – e.g., why note taking is important, how to take notes, and how to use notes from a completed interview – does not get much attention. Note taking is important – actually, critical – to the in-depth interview method because it is about much more than jotting down a participant’s comments and responses to the interviewer’s questions.
In fact, an effective note taker is a more effective interviewer. This is because
- Taking notes during an interview helps to focus the interviewer’s attention on the participant’s point of view and lived experience relevant to the research question.
- Taking notes helps the interviewer internalize what is being said by the participant which in turn helps the interviewer identify seemingly contradictory statements and follow up on new, insightful topic areas that may not appear on the interview guide.
- The interviewer’s heightened focused attention and internalization helps to build rapport and enhances the participant-researcher relationship.
- The interviewer can add sidebar notations while taking notes that add context to what is being discussed or remind the interviewer to follow up on a particular comment.
- Taking notes allows the interviewer to identify and flag important quotes made by the participant in the moment when the contextual import of participant’s statements can be fully appreciated and noted.
An effective note taker is also better equipped to conduct meaningful analyses of the data, leading to useful outcomes. This is because Read Full Text