Key aspects when writing and reading the results
The process of reporting the results of interviews should serve three functions:
- Communicate useful information to an identifiable audience for a specific purpose
- Develop a logical description of the research
- Provide a historic record of findings
The framework of the report should be composed of the key questions that were asked or the big themes that have emerged from the discussion. These serve as an outline for organizing the comments of the interviewees. The most clear and significant results should be described first. Areas of less agreement and importance come next. Trivial or irrelevant findings should be placed in an appendix.
When preparing the report, two styles of report could be considered:
The Narrative Report
Uses complete sentences and is augmented with quotes from the interviews.
The Bullet Report
Uses key words and phrases to highlight the critical points. This type of report can be prepared and consumed more quickly.
What should be in the report?
- A summary of the research, describing why the interviews were conducted and listing the major conclusion and recommendations.
- A description of the research procedure, including the interview guide and schedule with key questions, participants’ recruitment and socio-demographic characteristics and materials used during the interviews.
- A description of the results, identifying the key themes and ideas raised during the interviews and providing examples of participants’ quotes regarding each theme. Importance or consistency of the findings should determine the order in which information is presented. A possible interpretation of the data should always be provided. Statistical analysis comparing different interviewees should be clearly justified.
- Possible limitations and alternative explanations.
- The transcription of all the interviews (if requested).
What should NOT be in the report?
- Complex quantitative data and analysis, without clear justification.
- Generalization of the results to the larger population, particularly if sample representativeness was not ensured.
- Assertions of cause-effect.
- Interviewees identification.