The increased utilization of qualitative methodologies as part of mixed-method health and social science research has highlighted the need for training procedures for every stage of qualitative data collection and analysis. Yet, few group training models exist for collecting reliable, valid qualitative interview data. This article presents a multi-stage, collaborative interview training process for a large team of research assistants. The training program combines insights and techniques used in both structured and semi-structured interviewing. It also includes ongoing instruction and feedback prior to and during data collection in an effort to ensure consistency and reliability. In the article, I describe each stage of the training program in detail, review some of the challenges encountered during implementation, and conclude with a discussion of how researchers and course instructors might adapt the methods to fit their particular needs.


Interviewer Training, Qualitative Data Collection, Reliability, Validity

Author Bio(s)

Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj is an Associate Professor of education policy and Director of the Center for College Readiness in the College of Education and Human Services at Seton Hall University. Her research uses qualitative methods to examine the relationship between education policies and equity for immigrant youth and families with an emphasis on school choice policies and points of educational transition. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: sattinca@shu.edu.


The research for which this qualitative training procedure was developed was supported by funding from the Heckscher Foundation for Children, the Spencer Foundation, and the Institute of Human Development and Social Change at New York University. I thank Jennifer Jennings, Sean Corcoran, Sarah Cohodes, Elizabeth Christine Baker-Smith, and the research assistants and staff of the NYC High School Admissions study as well as Katrina Bulkley, Huriya Jabbar and Joshua Cowen and anonymous reviewers for feedback on earlier drafts of this article.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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