The aim of this paper is to illuminate the challenges, complexities, and strategies of semi-structured interviewing in studies about emotion in educational organizations, in general, and about teacher emotion and emotion in educational leadership, in particular, and, thereby, enable interviewers to make thoughtful decisions concerning planning and implementing future interviews on this sensitive issue. After a short review of the literature on semi-structured interviews, I analyze the distinctive characteristics of the planning phase (e.g., sample, sampling, location) and the implementation phase (e.g., the opening stage, rapport, hazards) in interviewing teachers and educational leaders about their emotion management, emotion regulation and internal feelings. Practical insights and recommendations are suggested throughout the text.


Semi-Structured Interview, Emotion, Teaching, Educational Leadership

Author Bio(s)

Izhar Oplatka is a professor of Educational Administration and Leadership at The School of Education, Tel Aviv University, Israel and the head of the dept. of Educational Policy and Administration. Prof. Oplatka’s research focuses on the lives and career of school teachers and principals, educational marketing, emotions and educational administration, and the foundations of educational administration as a field of study. His most recent books include Higher Education Consumer Choice (2015, with Jane Hemsley-Brown, Palgrave), The Legacy of Educational Administration: A Historical Analysis of an Academic Field (2010, Peter Lang Publishing); The Essentials of Educational Administration (2015, Pardes Publisher, in Hebrew); and Organizational Citizenship Behavior in Schools (2015, Routledge, with Anit Somech). Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: oplatka@post.tau.ac.il.


I would like to thank my PhD and MA students who wrote their theses under my supervision for sharing their experiences and feelings during the interviewing processes they underwent during their studies.

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