Evaluations of an interview

For scientific papers in the study, such as a bachelor thesis, master thesis or diploma thesis, for example, it is possible to carry out expert interviews and qualitative content analysis in order to collect information for your own work. An interview is always an individual survey of one or more people. This raises the question of how to evaluate qualitative interviews?


Before actually starting the interview evaluation, there are still some other tasks to do. Since interviews are recorded for a thesis, the recorded material must first be transcribed, which means writing down the spoken word, so as to be able to save the entire conversation as a readable file on the computer.

To make this file clear, the rows and the pages must be numbered consecutively. In some subjects it is sometimes required to take over actual sound and repetition of words, even if they are by no means compatible with the content. It is also important to set a timestamp at certain intervals, perhaps every minute, so that a later finding of a certain point in the audio file is made easier. This is also the source.

In a second step, then all superfluous expressions of whatever kind should be deleted, and also words that have been spoken in a dialect are rewritten.

The content analysis and data analysis according to Nagel and Meuser
There are very different evaluation methods, there is also enough literature to find. The next goal to be worked out is to shorten the content to the essential. For this purpose, it is better to create a table in order to enter all statements made by the interviewee in order to have an overview of all statements made.

In addition, all statements are shrunk down to their core message, which means that everything that has served to decorate and gain time in the interview is now taken out. This should not be an interpretation. Essentially, all statements are paraphrased and formulated to express exactly what the interviewee has finally stated.

In a further column in this table, in the following, in a further step, all statements are generalized or generalized.

In the third phase, we examine the statements in the table, in relation to the research topic, so we use the statements to answer the previously established research questions as possible.

Since the research questions are basically hypotheses formulated as questions, it can also be said that at this stage it should be examined whether the statements confirm or even refute the hypotheses made. Of course it is also possible that a guided interview does not lead to a result. Which means that a hypothesis can neither be confirmed nor refuted.

Having a qualitative interview is basically not that difficult in that the interviewer prepares well and asks the right questions. The goal is to get information about the interviewee, which is needed for the own thesis.

The right citation of parts of an interview

Since citation is essential for proper scientific work, we will briefly return to this topic. Of course, it is also true here, the statements of the interview partner, in the final thesis must be marked accordingly. The general rules for citation apply. Therefore, here is a short summary for the citation of the following example.

Statements must stand unaltered between quotation marks.
The researcher explained, “Since we had shown completely different results, we came to different conclusions.”

Inserts in a quote must be placed in parentheses.
The researcher said, “Since we have uncovered completely different results, [this experiment is mentioned], we came to different conclusions.”

Omissions are also made visible by parentheses and ellipsis.
The researcher commented, “Since we had other results, we came to different conclusions.”

Sources must be stated either on the citation, as a footnote or in the bibliography.

Of course, the interview itself should ensure that there is no open question left and written material, such as the prepared questions, is taken along. Make up a guide along which you ask your questions. If there is something left unclear, follow suit to be more qualitative and to work out all the information that is possible.

You can always incorporate new questions in between. Search for expert interviews and evaluation examples on the Internet and look at exactly how it is done. The internet but also students from other semesters with experience can give tips or a pattern. An interview is also an introduction, if only for the fact that the interviewee knows exactly what he is asked.