It’s been just over 3 weeks since I finished collecting my first complete set of data, which includes a short narrative and one-to-one interview.  When I received the email confirming that the participant would like to go ahead with the study I was elated! Overjoyed!  Someone out there actually wants to be part of my study.  Finally!

The search for suitable research participants that fit the participant profile of my study is a long and drawn out process and, frankly, is taking longer than I had anticipated.  The initial leads that I had used were off to a good start: emails exchanged, interest expressed. And then the summer hit, which is the high season in terms of English language teaching schedules.  I’ll have to wait till the autumn when things calm down a bit to approach my leads again.  More waiting.  It is slightly worrying as I’m hoping to finish my data collection as soon as possible but no cause for panic (for now).

The first stage of my study involves sending a pdf of my narrative to my research participant and they, in turn, respond by writing a narrative of their own.  The narrative I received in this case was detailed and brief.  I was hoping for more information but, due to the time constraints the participant was under, I could see why it was short.  The information that was shared enabled me to produce a good interview schedule.  By “good” I mean the details in the narrative provided me with a clear overview of this individual’s point of view and therefore it was an easier task to think about what questions I wanted to ask them.  I remember feeling confident about the interview questions and I carried that sense of confidence into the interview, which, upon reflection, helped to relax me.

Before their arrival we had agreed on a place and time and I went about 30 minutes early to do a sound check.  The meeting took place in a cafe and in my previous experience, the recording can be very hard to understand if the background noise (i.e. music, espresso machine, kitchen sounds etc.) is too loud.  So I sat at three different tables to check which table was the best for recording.

The actual interview itself was a pleasant experience.  The flow of the conversation was very natural and my interviewee was happy to go into more detail in order to clarify some areas of their narrative.  The interview itself lasted about 30 minutes which was enough time, in my mind, to collect further data, given that this is not a life-story study.

Since the interview event I’ve listened to the recording several times and have chosen not to transcribe anything yet.  I haven’t decided on what I need to transcribe as well as the format I’d like to write it out.  Those, for me, come as I continue to develop the methodological stance on defining “the” narrative.

2 thoughts on “Collecting my first set of data!

  1. Interesting read, Eljee. Noting the snapshot of your recording device, here are some things I have learned about recording data. (a) An iPhone is likely to stop recording if someone calls you mid-interview (even if you don’t answer). It may be a good idea to set it to ‘flight mode’ before starting the interview. (b) There are some issues with encryption and password-protection which you may need to check against the School’s policy on IT security. (c) It’s NOT paranoid to use two recorders. (d) A microphone with a polyester cover, which you can plug into your iPhone can dramatically imrpove the quality of the recording. A bidirectional mike, if you can get one, is quite worth looking into.

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