The secret life of research interviewing: SLoRI


This short course is for postgraduate students wishing to gain an understanding of the theoretical, practical and ethical practices an empirical researcher adopts when interviewing participants. It will also assist in helping  students explore the practicalities of relating different methods of interviewing to their own research philosophies. In summary, it will enable early career researchers to critically review their own perspectives of interviewing, anticipate potential ethical issues and consider philosophical conundrums that may arise.

Beginning in week 1 the students will be introduced to interviews as an empirical method of data collection, through an introductory theoretical, ethical and practical lens. Subsequent weekly sessions (weeks 2-7) will continue to focus on the minutiae of what is involved in data gathering, transcribing, analysing and dissemination of findings. Each of the seven sessions will be underpinned through various contextualised situations (e.g. interviewing migrants, elites and adult careers). In week 8 the students will reflect on ‘what they have learnt’ and ‘how this had/or will inform their practices’ through a 15-minute presentation. For one month, after completing the course, the lead tutor will offer a number of one-to-one tutorials for those who are collating a cumulative reflective portfolio of work.

To support the development of these individualised developing research skills, there will be a variety of interactive activities (both synchronous and asynchronous) throughout the eight weeks.

Programme details

The course will run over eight weeks. Participants can expect to actively engage with five three-hour hybrid sessions and three weeks supported online teaching and learning (approximately 25 hours in total). Additional time to prepare for wider reading and assignment preparation is also required (approximately 15 hours per week). The list of units is as follows:

Week 1: An introduction to the secret life of interviewing (hybrid synchronous)

Week 2: The secret life of different interview datasets (asynchronous through Canvas)

Week 3: The secret life of potential interviewees (hybrid synchronous)

Week 4: The secret life of transcribing interviews (asynchronous through Canvas)

Week 5: The secret life of analysing interview data (hybrid synchronous)

Week 6: The secret life of interviewing using visual methods (asynchronous through Canvas)

Week 7: The secret life of writing up findings for dissemination purposes (hybrid synchronous)

Week 8: The secret life of your reflective experience (hybrid synchronous)


Academic Credit

Applicants may take this course for academic credit. The University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education offers Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) points for this course. Participants attending at least 80% of the taught course and successfully completing assessed assignments are eligible to earn credit equivalent to 20 CATS points  which may be counted towards a postgraduate qualification.

Applicants can choose not to take the course for academic credit and will therefore not be eligible to undertake the academic assignment offered to students taking the course for credit. Applicants cannot receive CATS (Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme) points or equivalence. Credit cannot be attributed retrospectively. CATS accreditation is required if you wish for the course to count towards a further qualification in the future.

A Certificate of Completion is issued at the end of the course.

Applicants registered to attend ‘not for credit’ who subsequently wish to register for academic credit and complete the assignment are required to submit additional information, which must be received one calendar month in advance of the course start date. Please contact us for more details.

Please contact if you have any questions.


Description Costs
Oxford DPhil student rate £0.00
Standard course fee £945.00
Student rate (for students outside University of Oxford) £450.00

Oxford students – student must be currently enrolled in an Oxford programme. Student rate (students outside University of Oxford) – students must be currently enrolled in a programme at an educational institution and provide proof of that enrolment. Standard rate – this applies to all other applicants, including research fellows.

Course aims

By the end of this course the students will be expected to understand:

  • The pragmatic and contextualised issues in designing appropriate interview tools;
  • How to generate interview research instruments that are appropriate for various social and environmental situations and the importance of piloting;
  • The ethical issues in conducting contextualised interviews;
  • How to relate interviews to research paradigms and philosophies.

During this short course, the students will be expected to:

  • Take part in synchronous and asynchronous seminars and workshops designed to develop their knowledge and understanding about interviewing as a method of data collection;
  • Design interview schedules;
  • Participate in “hands-on” data analysis and verification exercises;
  • Work collaboratively on critical examination of their research tools;
  • Study and practice presenting ideas;
  • Critically and constructively support their academic peers.

Assessment methods

The course will have a maximum of 12 students and will involve the submission of four separate assignments. The first three submissions, due in weeks, 2, 4 and 6, will involve a written 500-word summary reflecting on the previous weeks’ learning. This will be for on-going formative feedback (which will be provided a fortnight after being uploaded). The final summative assignment will be a portfolio, which includes these three 500 words summaries, and a final reflexive assignment of 1000 words. This will be worth 60% of the overall summative total.

In week 8 the students will also present and reflect on up to three highlights of the course. These 15-minute presentations will be worth 40% of the overall summative total.

In summary, participants will be assessed on the basis of the following:

(1) A portfolio of learning (60%). The portfolio, which should include, in the following order:

  • Front cover
  • Contents page
  • Weeks 1-2 summary of learning (500 words)
  • Weeks 3-4 summary of learning (500 words)
  • Weeks 5-6 summary of learning (500 words)
  • Week 8 final reflexive summary of learning (1000 words)
  • References
  • Appendices

(2) Presentation of learning, which will also include submission of presentation slides (if utilised) (40%)

The course will be assessed on a 0-100 marking scale used in the Department: Pass at 50, Merit at 65 and Distinction at 70.


We strongly recommend that you download and save files before completing to ensure that all your changes are saved.

Please click the Apply button to complete the application form—including a personal statement demonstrating your suitability for the course—and submit a CV. In addition, all student applicants will be required to have a supporting letter from their supervisor.

Please ensure you read the Terms and Conditions and all guidance notes attached to the form before completing your application, as any errors resulting from failure to do so may delay your application.

Level and demands

Whilst this course will be useful to postgraduate researchers at any stage of their projects. It is primarily aimed at people who are at the beginning of their research project. Applications will be assessed using the following criteria:

  1. Evidence of a postgraduate qualification in a relevant field at master's degree or above.
  2. Some research experience at postgraduate level is preferred.
  3. The ability to demonstrate prior knowledge and understandings of interviewing as a research method.
  4. A brief explanation explaining why an applicant wishes to participate in this short course.
  5. Applicants are planning to adopt interviews for their research.