CANCELLED - COURSE: Academic Interviewing

Course content

Academic interviews are becoming an increasingly popular method in political science. Today, undergraduate and graduate students alike boldly venture into collecting, sorting and analysing information, obtained "straight from the horse's mouth". This tendency is indeed praiseworthy, as the academic interview offers a great opportunity for the student to show initiative, display academic independence and demonstrate critical thinking.

Unfortunately, the academic interview is not as uncomplicated as students like to think and during the process many find themselves bewildered and greatly challenged by practicalities of the craft and the methodological implications related to its conduct. Well into their research, students often begin wondering: 'How do I sufficiently prepare and best conduct the interview?''What do I do, if the interviewee does not answer my questions?', 'How can I avoid contaminating my material?', and 'Is it really possible to ensure reliability and validation in processing of interview material?'.

These questions and many more will be confronted during the course, which has been designed with the purpose of equipping students, intending to apply interviews in their research, with the knowledge and skills required in properly preparing, conducting, evaluating and processing academic interviews.


  1. Introduction.

  2. On Language, Meaning and Truth.

  3. On Epistemology and (Non)Knowledge.

  4. On the Logic of Questions and Answers.

  5. Hands-on I: Planning an Interview and Designing an Interview Guide.

  6. On Ethics and Context.

  7. Interview Preparation. (+ Mid-term evaluation)

  8. Interview Conduct.

  9. Hands-on II: Academic Interviewing.

  10. Interview Evaluation.

  11. Initial Processing.

  12. Further Processing.

  13. Hands-on III: Processing the Interview.



Bachelorlevel: 10 ECTS
Masterlevel: 7,5 ECTS

Learning outcome

The goal of this seminar is to enable the student to:


- Describe the purpose of applying interviews as an academic method.

- Present the underlying methodological and epistemological considerations inherent academic interviewing.

- Identify and compare various ethical and contextual implications of conducting academic interviews.

- Devise and design an interview guide, applicable to the student's current/future research project.

- Conduct an academic interview in accordance with the guide mentioned and provide a transcription sample as documentation.

- Critically evaluate the interview, incl. the management of the interviewer-self and the handling of the interviewee, before, during and after the interview.

- Briefly outline the processing of the interview, incl. initial analysis and reporting.

- Relate the interview to a greater research design, i.e. either an existing or a proposed research project.

- Reflect on the both theoretical and practical implications of the interview itself, and of the application of academic interviews overall.

This seminar is designed as a combination of lectures and student participation, including class discussions, exercises in pairs, as well as small individually written assignments and oral presentations. Given the practical nature of teaching academic interviewing as craft, the seminar relies heavily on cooperative learning and students are expected to engage actively in discussions and exercises. Three lectures (referred to as "Hands-on") are dedicated to practical exercises, serving the purpose of matching words with deeds, i.e. theory with practice.

In addition, to enhance student motivation, increase learning and ensure an efficient working environment, I am designing a role play, which is to run throughout the course so as to create a frame for the teaching. The role play will evolve around a fictional research project, in which the students and I will do a meta-study of interview practices in academia. By asking the students to investigate qualitatively how a number of esteemed faculty members at the Department of Political Science at UCPH plan, conduct and evaluate academic interviews, the students will not only get a chance to work practically with interviews but at the same time gain valuable insights into concrete applications of the interviewing craft.

The reading list is yet to be finalized, yet the main part of it will be composed by chapters from:


Bernard, H.R. & G.W. Ryan, 2010, Analyzing Qualitative Data. Systematic Approaches, SAGE. (20%)

Collin, F. & F. Guldmann, 2010, Meaning, Use and Truth: Introducing the Philosophy of Language, Automatic Press. (20%)

Flick, U. , 2014, The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Data Analysis, SAGE. (20%)

Gubrium, J.F. et al. (eds), 2012, The SAGE Handbook of Interview Research: The Complexity of the Craft, 2nd ed., SAGE. (40-50%)

Holstein, J.A. & J.F. Gubrium, 2003, Inside Interviewing. New Lenses, New Concerns, SAGE. (30-40%)

Kvale, S. & S. Brinkmann, 2015, InterViews: Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing, 3rd ed., SAGE. (60-70%)

Seidman, I., 2013, Interviewing as Qualitative Research, 4th ed, Teachers College Press. (30%)

Silver, C. & A. Lewins, 2014, Using Software in Qualitative Research. A Step-by-Step Guide, 2nd ed, SAGE. (30%)

Wetherell, M. et al. (eds), 2014, Discourse Theory and Practice. A Reader, Open University Press. (20-30%)


In addition to literature on interviews, we will be reading articles on social constructivism, the philosophy of language, epistemology and classical logic, as well as discussing a number of social science articles applying academic interviews – some with more success than others


Furthermore, to ensure common grounds and overall conducive teaching, students are recommended to have a clear intention of applying interviews in their thesis or in another upcoming academic assignment.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28