Chapter 6


Chapter 6 of Performing Music Research sets out the characteristic features of research interviews, introducing four types of interview: open interviews, which often arise spontaneously or informally and which are largely unstructured or explore an overarching topic of interest; semi-structured interviews, an approach often taken in music research that relies on a predetermined yet flexible set of principal questions; structured interviews, which make use of fixed and unchangeable questions within an entirely predetermined format; and focus group interviews, which take place with groups of participants rather than individuals. The chapter addresses some of the challenges of using different types of interviews, presents ways to design and conduct interviews effectively, and considers ways to write about and report them.

Research spotlight

Box 6.1
Making music for mental health

Research investigating the how group drumming interventions can support mental health.

Read the full report:

Perkins R, Ascenso S, Atkins L, Fancourt D, & Williamon A (2016), Making music for mental health: how group drumming mediates recovery, Psychology of Well-Being, 6 (11), 1-17 [DOI].

Film produced by: Tantrwm Digital Media


Practice questions

These questions test your knowledge of the content of Chapter 6.

A focus group interview is so called because it focuses on one area of investigation.

What type of interview would be most appropriate when the interviewer wishes to allow a participant to tell a story in their own words, influenced as little as possible by predetermined questions?

An interview schedule is a document outlining the timeline for an interview study.

__________ interviews make use of a flexible interview schedule that allows for a degree of pre-planning and a degree of spontaneity while carrying out the interview.

A structured interview is an interview in which the interviewer follows a fixed schedule in which the order and wording of the __________ has/have been decided in advance.

What type of interview questions aim to elicit further detail and richness on a particular topic?

In a qualitative interview study, most of the questions should be open questions.

__________ allows the interviewer to test the overall design of the interview schedule, develop their interviewing skills, and to test the proposed interview format.

As a rule of thumb, the interviewer should talk more than the participant.

What kind of interview questions are based on assumptions and/or encourage participants to answer in a certain way, and should be avoided in interview studies?

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