Teaching the skills needed for qualitative interviewing poses particular challenges. Students need to learn how to frame and ask questions, how to practice reflexivity, and how to analyze interview data. Such skills cannot be learned simply by reading about them in a textbook.
Recognizing that practice provides the best way to learn the skills involved in qualitative interviewing, in 2010, Professor Ping-Chun Hsiung developed an interactive on-line guide to provide help for those seeking to teach (and learn) qualitative interviewing. Drawing on a dataset of original interviews conducted in 1993 under the supervision of Professor Nancy Howell, Professor Hsiung worked with a web developer to prepare Lives and Legacies, an open-access piece of courseware designed as a resource for learning or improving qualitative research skills.
The courseware consists of lessons on interviewing, reflexivity and analysis and in each case uses examples from a study of immigrant families. The guide provides shared data from an archive of qualitative interviews to demonstrate the methods for interviewing and analysis. It highlights both exemplars in interviewing and “informative mistakes” and provides eighteen interactive exercises.
Many instructors have found Lives and Legacies to be an invaluable resource. According to Google Analytics, the guide has been accessed almost 4,000 times since it was posted in 2010. Professor Hsiung has also heard from colleagues in Canada, US, and UK who describe the website as “fabulous” and “incredible.” They applauded the courseware for its contribution to the teaching qualitative interviewing, and have incorporated it into their own teaching practice.