Interviews in the social sciences – A Nature Reviews Methods Primer

In-depth interviews are a versatile form of qualitative data collection used by researchers across the social sciences. They allow individuals to explain, in their own words, how they understand and interpret the world around them. Interviews represent a deceptively familiar social encounter in which people interact by asking and answering questions. They are, however, a very particular type of conversation, guided by the researcher and used for specific ends. This dynamic introduces a range of methodological, analytical and ethical challenges, for novice researchers in particular.

In this Nature Reviews Methods Primer (published on 15 September 2022), Eleanor Knott, Aliya Hamid Rao, Kate Summers & Chana Teeger of the London School of Economics focus on the stages and challenges of designing and conducting an interview project and analysing data from it, as well as strategies to overcome such challenges.