Open interviewingMethodology courses and philosophy of science

Course information

ECTS: 1.5
Number of session: 2
Hours per session: 3
Entry level: Introduction

Course fee:

  • free for PhD candidates of the Graduate School
  • € 220,- for non-members
  • consult our enrolment policy for more information


Telephone: +31 10 4082607

Session 1
March 1 (Thursday) 2018
Mandeville building (directions) room T18-59

Session 2
March 19 (Monday) 2018
Mandeville building (directions) room T18-59


The course on open interviewing is part of a broader curriculum on Interviewing. The first session of that curriculum should be attended by all participants of the Open Interviewing course.

This course introduces open interviewing as one of the most used forms of qualitative interviewing. It looks at the practicalities of using this method with a specific focus on design and the real-time practice of asking open-ended questions.

Working method

There are two sessions of three hours each, which will include a mix of lectures, role-plays and in-class exercises. Besides introducing the method as a type of ‘performance’ (including more than talk), the first session will teach participants the work that goes into preparing for an open interview and into asking open-ended questions.

Participants will work with their own interview topic lists (see assignment 1), which will be used during live in-class interview exercises. We will, moreover, practice with the actual skills that go into asking open-ended interview questions. To this end, we will record some of the exercises so that participants can watch and learn to improve themselves.

In the second session we will further polish these skills working with interview transcriptions and reports made by participants (see assignment 2). We will look at dealing with sensitive information and difficult or uncomfortable situations that may arise during the interviews. 

Learning objectives

After completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Approach open interviews as a type of performance;
  • Design a topic list for an open interview;
  • Conduct yourself in a way that people are more willing to describe the details and sensitive aspects of their lives;  
  • Probe and ask further questions based on the answers of research participants;
  • Deal with difficult or uncomfortable situations.

Suitable for

This course is open to everyone with an interest in doing qualitative interviews as research method. No specific skills or prior experience with qualitative interviewing are required for attending the course.

How to prepare

  • For the first session, participants have to design their own interview topic list (see literature to be announced). This topic list should be related to their own research and build on the assignment they made for the introductory course. Please make sure to email your topic list to a week before the first session.
  • For the second session, participants are asked to do a 45 minute interview about their research. This interview needs to be transcribed and send to a week before the second session. They are also asked to hand-in a short (approximately 500 word) description of the interview analysed as a type of performance. Both will be used for in-class exercises.
  • Additional literature will be announced in order to ensure successful participation in this course.

Session descriptions

Session 1: Introduction to open interviewing

  • This session introduces the open interview as a type of performance that is more than talk.
  • We will cover the practical side of preparing for an open interview and designing a topic list.
  • More than that, we will specifically look at developing your skills in open interviewing.

Session 2: Dealing with sensitive topics and difficult situations

  • This session will further expand your skills in conducting open interviews;
  • We will look at dealing with sensitive interview topics and information;
  • We will look at difficult or uncomfortable situations and how to manage them.

About the instructor

Dr. Samira van Bohemen is a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the Sociology department, where she currently studies young people and good sex(uality). She has ample experience with doing different types of social scientific research, also including quantitative methods, but she is most passionate about using qualitative methods and finding new and creative ways to incorporate them into her research.