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Qualitative interviews: Design, recruitment, ethics and conducting

October 28, 2022
9:00 AM EDT - 1:30 PM EDT
In person at CERC Migration office
About the workshop:

Qualitative interviews are an important research method that draws on a fundamental mode of human interaction. Participants describe their experiences and perspectives in their own terms, and a two-way ‘performance’ ensues involving verbal and non-verbal codes. To master the art of interviewing, the researcher needs to understand how inter-subjective knowledge is produced.

In this workshop participants learned:

  • How to interpret the lived experiences and subjective truth expressed by the participant
  • What the interview setting conveys in terms of position and power
  • How to optimize recruitment of participants
  • What the ethical considerations are for conducting interviews
  • How to prepare and carry out a successful interview

How this workshop was delivered:

The workshop provided step-by-step techniques of in-person and online interviews and included discussion on their ethical and methodological underpinnings. Teamwork and hands-on exercises provided an opportunity for practice. Detailed instructions for workshop exercises will be provided to participants beforehand.

9–10:20 AM – Introduction and Welcome

  • What is an interview and why interview?
  • The politics of knowledge production
  • Tips for designing a semi-structured interview guide   

10:20-11:15 AM – The Politics of Knowledge Production, Ethics and Recruitment Strategies 

  • Politics of knowledge production
  • Ethical conduct of research
  • Recruitment strategies

Exercise 1: Identifying positionality and the ethical considerations for sample case studies.

Participants will be divided into groups and a case study will be given to each group to figure out the key aspects of positionality and relevant power relations.

11:15-11:25 Break

11:25 AM-12:40 PM – Interview in Practice

  • The checklist
  • The art of interviewing
    • In-person interview
    • Online interview
  • Reflection on interviews

Exercise 2: Practice interview and reflection

Participants will be divided into groups. One person in each group will be assigned the role of an interviewer and another person the role of an interviewee to conduct a mock interview while other group members will observe the process. After the interview, the group members will reflect on the interview by writing three key learning experiences.   

Sample topics:

  • Access to settlement services
  • Challenges as an international student in Canada
  • Barriers to get a job as a migrant  
  • Experiences at the first job
  • Access to affordable housing in Toronto

12:40–1:10 PM – Lunch

12:20–12:30 PM – Reflection and wrap-up

  • Recap of the workshop
  • Information on additional resources
About the workshop leader:

Marshia Akbar is Senior Research Associate, CERC Migration. Marshia’s research addresses how social inequalities and settlement policies shape the labour market integration of migrants in Canada. She has a PhD from York University. Marshia has taught geography, sociology and methods courses at York University and Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University).


All workshops are being offered free of charge. Our workshops are often oversubscribed and we maintain a waiting list. We ask that you please cancel your registration if you are no longer able to attend. We appreciate your understanding.