Observing an interview

Observing, purely observing, a researcher taking an interview. Educational. What did I learn?

  • The hour is gone before you know it
  • Opportunities for probing are so easily missed
  • It is not a monologue; it is a conversation
  • Repeat, summarize and probe
  • People speak abstract and in metaphors
  • Making a person angry helps (to a certain limit of course)

Ok. Interesting to learn more about open interviewing. But I also learned something else… 

To be able to explain that I need to clarify why I observed this interview. I am taking this course on open interviewing. Our homework assignment was to interview and be observed and the other way around. The researcher I observed is researching the financial department of a Dutch university. He interviewed an account from a different department, a former colleague. The interview was therefore quite casual, but professional.

Firstly, I learned was how a accountant views the academic world. My idea was that they just process the numbers, but now I know they understand how we work as academics very well.

Then he talked about stakeholders. His definition was a stakeholder is everyone benefiting from or affected by the service. In this case the university. This definition is rather matching my own definition and the definition used in product design.

Finally, he was talking about values. When I introduced myself, he jokingly said, value is found important at is department. Later, when explaining the stakeholders of the university, he talked also about values, what people find important. And what intrinsically motivates them. He admired academics for being so intrinsically motivated to do their work. Not to just earn their dinner.

So my main take aways were:

  • accountants are just like people 😉
  • stakeholders are affected persons, no one excluded
  • intrinsic motivation is valued highly

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