How to write an ethnographic interview guide

Caretaker: Kayleigh

Many of the same principles you’d use when writing a group guide apply when writing an ethnographic Interview guide.

The key difference is where an interview guide contains questions to ask / understand, an ethnographic interview guide contains behaviours and factors to look out for.

Some basic principles:

  • Understand context first. You still need to build a rapport with participant etc so any ethnographic interview should start with some overview questioning
  • Observe, task, review. In general balance in the guide should be 10% context setting, 30% spontaneous observation, 30% guided observation, 30% reflective behaviour review & analysis
  • The Interview Framework is more instructional than a group guide:  should contain things to look out for, things to ask participant to do, and contexts or conditions to either create or simulate much more than specific questions to ask
  • Remember to look for more than what your participant says or does – probes / reminders for researcher should cover environmental factors, physical factors, social factors that impact behaviour or comment. 

Here is an example ethnographic guide.