Observation On My First Sociological Interview

monica2I began this interview and wrote the interview questions making certain assumptions, blindly, without considering the context of the questions I was asking and the results I was looking for.  This wasn’t just an interview like the others I had conducted in the past for www.radiocasbah.com, where I engaged in an informal conversation with a musician and posted it to my web site.  There was and is a more specific agenda, a deeper sociological implication to this.

I wrote the questions, expanded them as effectively as I thought I could and, I received a great response from the musician I interviewed.  I received some responses that hint where I want to take this subject.  But I did not dig deep enough.  I did not ask any follow up questions based on her responses.  Reflecting on the interview, I now realize that I asked questions that I knew all of the answers to, more or less.

Let me explain this a little further.  When I started my Internet radio site, I immersed myself in promotional- and publicity-propaganda of all kinds so I could learn it, foolishly thinking I could do it as well as the next publicity-propagandist.   I studied from the Internet, I studied from books, I studied from musicians, and I studied from other publicity-propagandists who sent me promotional-propaganda for musicians that they were promoting. The one thing that I did not quite understand was the disconnect between what I understood regarding propaganda and what these practitioners understood regarding promotional-propaganda.  Conversely, they did not understand what I understood regarding propaganda as well.

So I went into this qualitative interview with my eyes wide open, perhaps too wide.  I now understand that I need to dig a little deeper into the minds of my subjects and ask follow up questions to find out how and why they know what they know, where and when they learned it, and how they especially use it.

Given the defects of this first interview, and after several readings in texts describing the qualitative interview process, I realize that most sociologists start from this same point and, to a certain extent, “learn as they go” while absorbing the lessons from mentors in their immediate vicinity.  I hope to do just that.