Research design entails issues of how to plan a research study. It involves answering questions such as how to carry out data collection and analysis. Moreover, it underscores how the researcher will choose empirical units of the study like persons, cases, and situations in order to answer his or her research questions and attain that within the available time for him or her, using the available means (Flick, 2009, p.128). Ragin, cited in Flick (2009, p.128), defines a research design as a strategy for gathering data and analyzing evidence that will enable the researcher to answer whatever questions s/he has coined for a study.
In-depth interviewing is one of the key qualitative research techniques (Lewis & Ritchie, 2003, p.138). Other qualitative research methods include focus groups, archival analysis, and observation- participant or non-participant. Qualitative research interviews are classified as individual/group, structured, and unstructured interviews. In-depth interviews are also referred to as unstructured interviews. In-depth interview is usually described as a form of conversation (Lewis & Ritchie, 2003, p.138). Some social scientists, such as Sidney and Beatrice Webb, cited in Lewis & Ritchie (2003, p.138), have described in-depth interviews as purposive conversation. According to Lewis & Ritchie (2003, p.138), in-depth interview is a basic process through which knowledge about a given social phenomenon of interest is constructed in normal human interaction. However, it is pertinent to note that, there are many apparent differences between a normal conversation with another person or a group and in-depth interviews because their goals and the roles of researchers and those taking part are quite different (Lewis & Ritchie, 2003, p.138). Nevertheless, a well-designed in-depth interview should appear naturalistic, and bear some little likeness to an ordinary daily conversation.
Numerous benefits accrue from the use of an in-depth interview, particularly for a researcher who is on a mission to unearth comprehensive information about a person or group’s experience and thoughts. First, this technique offers a framework to other data and/or show a fuller depiction of the topic studied. Second, in-depth interview enables the researcher to merge structure and flexibility successfully. That flexibility allows issues and topics to be covered in accordance to the order that is most suitable to a participant(s). This aspect, in turn, permits answers to be extensively looked into and explored so as to make it easier for the researcher to be alert to important issues brought up unexpectedly by the interviewee (Lewis & Ritchie, 2003, p.138). Thirdly, an in-depth interview is interactive; therefore, information is reproduced by a natural interaction between the researcher and the interviewee (Maxwell, 2005, p.150). Fourthly, an in-depth pattern allows the researcher to probe factors that buttress participant’s opinions, beliefs, reasons, responses, and feelings (Lewis & Ritchie, 2003, p.138). This facet, in turn, informs a researcher’s explanatory evidence that is a critical feature of qualitative research (Lewis & Ritchie, 2003, p.138). Moreover, using in-depth interviews enables the researcher to apply different probes and other methods to attain depth of a response in terms of explanation, penetration, and exploration. Therefore, in-depth interviews will be undertaken in this study since the researcher would like to gather sufficient information on Saudis’ desire to communicate well with international visitors.
However, in-depth analysis has a number of limitations. For instance, it is time consuming since it involves undertaking intensive interviews with participants. Moreover, these participants live in different places with diverse behaviors and personalities. The results of the interviews must also be written down during the time of the actual interview and be analyzed in order to answer questions posed. All of these critical activities require ample time, which may be unavailable. This study will require me to travel widely around Riyadh in order to obtain a well-varied data that can bring out the desired variability. Variability is common in a social phenomenon, and the one under study in this research offers such variability. The interviewing process may also require a translator who can facilitate communication between the researcher and willing interviewees, if they do not understand English, thereby leading to consumption of more time. Even where the researcher and the participants share a common language, the researcher is expected to have professional, communicative, and social-emotional skills in order to ensure that participants cooperate productively, without undue pressure or resentment.
Participants are a critical component of this study. Researchers require participants to answer questions posed during the research and such information is the main source of data for this form of research. Indeed, the findings of this study will not be a generalization, but a deeper understanding of Saudis’ desire to communicate with international visitors informed by the researcher’s experience from the viewpoints of selected participants for the study; that is, sample groups from Saudis citizens living in Riyadh (Maykut & Morehouse, 1997, p.44; King, Keohane & Verba, 1994, p.7). Therefore, the study will use purposive sampling in order to make sure that chosen participants broaden variability of the formed samples (Merriam, 2009, p.266).
Interviewees will be selected, in accordance with simple criteria, to ensure a proper regional coverage of Riyadh, which is the overall focus sample community. First, in order to qualify to be a participant, one must be a native Saudi citizen who has lived in Riyadh for at least two years. Second, he or she must be a Saudi citizen whose native language is exclusively Arabic. Different purposive sample sets comprising of 15 -20 participants, from different societal classes within Riyadh, will be set up (Holloway, 1997, p.144). They shall also comprise of participants who have visited other countries in different parts of the world. Sample sets will also have interviewees who are literate, illiterate, and semi-illiterate (Merriam, 2009, p.266; Rubin & Babbie, 2010, p.448). The researcher will conduct the interviews at the most convenient places such as participants’ homes where consent has been obtained, market places, and any other place that s/he can morally (religion and authority wise) be allowed to conduct the interviews.
Flick, U. (2009). An Introduction to Qualitative Research. London: SAGE.
Holloway, I. (1997). Basic concepts for qualitative research. London: Wiley-Blackwell.
King, G., Keohane, R., & Verba, S., (1994). Designing social inquiry: scientific inference in qualitative research. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Lewis, J., & Ritchie, J. (2003). Qualitative research practice: a guide for social science students and researchers. New York, NY: SAGE.
Maxwell, J. (2005). Qualitative research design: an interactive approach. New York. SAGE.
Maykut ,P., & Morehouse, R. (1994). Beginning Qualitatative research:A philosophical and Practical Guide. New York: Taylor & Francis Group.
Merriam, S. (2009). Qualitative research: a guide to design and implementation. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Rubin, A., & Babbie, E. (2010). Research methods for social. London: Cengage Learning.