The secret life of research interviewing: SLoRI


This short part-time course is for postgraduate students and early career researchers 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 you explore the practicalities of relating different methods of interviewing to your own research philosophies.

In addition to the weekly units outlined below, the lead tutor will offer a number of one-to-one tutorials for those who are collating a cumulative reflective portfolio of work on completion of the course (up to one month after the course end date).

During the first week you will be introduced to interviews as an empirical method of data collection, through an introductory theoretical, ethical and practical lens.

The following sessions will continue to focus on the minutiae of what is involved in data gathering, transcribing, analysing and dissemination of findings. Each of these sessions will be underpinned through various contextualised situations (eg interviewing migrants, elites and adult careers).

In the final week you will then reflect on what you have learnt and how this has/will inform your practices through a 15-minute presentation.

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.

In summary, this course will enable you to critically review your own perspectives of interviewing, anticipate potential ethical issues and consider philosophical conundrums that may arise.

The course is capped at a maximum of 15 students.

Programme details

The course runs over eight weeks through both synchronous and asynchronous learning. The course is formed of:

  • four three-hour sessions (synchronous, in Oxford or online)
  • four weeks supported asynchronous online teaching and learning through Canvas, the University's virtual learning environment (approximately 25 hours in total).

Additional time to prepare for wider reading and assignment preparation is also required (approximately 15 hours per week).

Weekly units

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)


Digital badge

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be issued with an official digital badge from the Department for Continuing Education, University of Oxford. After the course, you will receive an email with a link and instructions on how to download your digital badge. You will be able to add your badge to your email signature and share it on social media if you choose to do so. In order to be issued with your badge, you will need to have attended at least 80% of the course.

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 (FHEQ Level 7) which may be counted towards a postgraduate qualification. More information on CATS points.

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.

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 if you have any questions.


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


If your application is successful, an invoice for payment will be sent after you have been offered a place. Payment is not required when you submit your application.

Fee status

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

Course aims

By the end of this course you 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.

You will be expected to:

  • Take part in synchronous and asynchronous seminars and workshops designed to develop your 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 your research tools;
  • Study and practice presenting ideas;
  • Critically and constructively support your academic peers.

Assessment methods

Portfolio of learning (60%)

Four separate assignments form a portfolio of learning, which is worth 60% of the overall summative total.

The first three submissions, due in weeks 2, 4 and 6, will each 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 the summaries outlined above along with a final reflexive assignment of 1000 words.

Presentation of learning (40%)

During the final session in week 8, you will present and reflect on up to three highlights of the course. This 15-minute presentation will be worth 40% of the overall summative total.


The application deadline is 3 weeks before the start date.

To apply for this course, please click on the ‘apply’ button above. You will need to submit a supporting statement demonstrating your suitability for the course (see below) and a CV. DPhil/PhD students are also required to submit a supporting letter from their supervisor.

Please ensure you read all guidance notes before completing the application form, as any errors resulting from failure to do so may delay your application. We strongly recommend that you download and save your files before completing your application to ensure that all your changes are saved.

Supporting statement

Your supporting statement should demonstrate your suitability for this course. We recommend using the criteria in the 'selection criteria' section below to help you write this.

Selection criteria

Whilst this course will be useful to all researchers, the course is primarily aimed at those 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.