Interviewing is one of the most common data collection tools in qualitative research. It is widely discussed in research methods classes and literature and considered as an invaluable tool for gathering facts and feelings. In this paper, I reflect systematically on the first 270 interviews conducted for a large-scale investigation into the English language learning history of Hong Kong university students. I discuss how existing literature served as a guide to interviewing but once in the field, I reflect on how I adapted and improvised to improve my interviewing skills. I also analyze and discuss the strategies I employed to encourage undergraduates in Hong Kong universities to reveal aspects of their English language learning experiences and the methods that I used to limit personal influence. I benefitted from recording my progress and reflecting on the interview process internally and with peers and supervisors. I hope my autoethnographic-like style will give fellow researchers the freedom to reflectively explore themselves and their interviewing techniques.


Interviewing, Autoethnographic, Reflection

Author Bio(s)

John Patkin is a research assistant at the Education University of Hong Kong. Please direct correspondence to patkin@eduhk.hk.


The researcher appreciates the input of Amanda Baker and Paul Stapleton and the editors of The Qualitative Report.

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