MC1 – Interviewing, Techniques and Practice.

This week we explored research techniques such as interviews and how they enable us to gain a stronger and richer interpretation and understanding of a particular topic. The study of anthropology and subcultures was used as an example that emphasised the importance of interviews when researching people and societal change. In lectures discussed the study of subculture and the practice of interviewing with emphasis on how to interview correctly. We also had the opportunity to conduct a mock/practice interview.

Here is the transcript for the practice interview…

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We were then asked to conduct further interviews with older people in an attempt to study human interaction with technology and then write a discourse analysis of 500 words.

Here are my interviews…

Interview 1 – Male (50s)

Me: What was the first technology that you experienced or owned?…

“…VCR”

Me: A VCR? did you own it?

“No, my parents did”

 Me: Okay, how old were you roughly when you experienced a VCR for the first time?

 How old were you?

“…About 9”

Me: Around 9, okay.

Umm, how did you use a VCR initially?

“Press the buttons” (giggles)

Me: (laughs, umm, okay like… okay, so describe sort of like… okay, obviously it’s changed now hasn’t it? For you how has a VCR changed?

“Because they were all Betamax at the time”

Me: Oh right, and what’s happened now?

“Well, then they changed to VHS?”

Me: Dvds… isn’t it?

“We went from videos to DVDs”

Me: Okay, alright… how would you describe your initial exposure to technology? Would you say it was a strong exposure, so you were around it loads or not a lot?

“I was around it quite a bit”

Me: Okay…right, how did you use technology in a wide spec of things, to begin with, like what got you into using technology or was it like a choice of your own or you sort of guided it to using it

“It’s just what the parents brought”

Me: So was it just a VCR? Do you have any other?…

“DVD, record player…”

Me: Okay, how was, in your opinion… how has it changed?

“It’s a lot more up to date”

Me: Okay, so….

“Technologies a lot faster.”

Me: Umm that is very true, umm so you know we talked a bit about your initial exposure to technology, how you say that exposure has changed?

“Because we are around it more often.” 

Me: So you’d say that?…

“I’m around it, I’m around it at home, I’m around it at work…”

Me: Okay, so… it’s kind of, why are you around it?

“Before, before it was more like um… coming home, it was like a treat… to use the stuff, now you’ve got to use the stuff more often.” 

Me: That’s really interesting, so now… so it’s kind of like blurring, I guess the boundaries between its involvement for you? Is it more of a leisure thing? To begin with…

“Umm, yeah”

Me: And now it’s more integrated into…

“Yeah, hands on”

Me: Every kind of aspect of life?

Umm, I’m gonna ask you from like now, like would you say that you interact with technology?

“Yeah”

Me: Okay, how frequently?

“Every day… I have it at work”

Me: Is it, so, it’s not exclusive to any particular location, so is it when you’re on the bus? Or… whatever, or do you do it sort of like…

“What we do we do it all the time? Don’t we, I mean, if I’m on the bus I’m usually using the phone…”

“We, we do it all the time, we may not notice…”

Me: Okay, umm, what forms of technology do you use today?

“Ummm… machine screens, but it’s like, it’s like umm…”

Me: So like touch screens?

“Yeah”

Me: Okay, so when you say touchscreens, do you mean general sort of like scope of touch screens or do you mean like, specific?

“It’s just machine… screens”

Me: Phones, tablets… that kind of thing?

“Well, there is that alone, but at work…”

Me: Oh, what… so okay, what do you mean by machine screens at work?

“For checking seats”

Me: How does that work? It sounds like a stupid question but…   

“Because you have like, like a torque on a bolt…”

Me: Okay….

“So, providing the guns torqued enough, obviously, it will come up on a screen.”

Me: Oh okay, so, the information is sort of passed… sort of digitised. Ummm, how would you describe your consumption of technology?

“Umm…semi-hands on, it could be more hands on, but its semi-hands-on, it’s not as good as a youngster.”

Me: Okay, so you would say you, kind of have, a kind of like, medium sort of exposure to technology?…

“Yeah”

Me: It’s not constantly all the time, it’s more of a so-so kind of relationship you have with it? What is your personal attitude towards technology nowadays?

“I think it’s clever, I think it’s very good, I just wish I could keep up, up with it”

Me: So, do you feel like there’s a generational gap, and, do you feel like there’s any sort of like emphasis of that gap since technology?

“Well, yeah, it’s more, I’d say, the youngsters keep up with it more than the the older generations.”

Me:  Okay, why would you say that? Or is it just through personal experience?

“No, I just think every generation, the person, the brain evolves quicker…

So to keep up with what’s happening, what’s progressing with the progression”

Me: Okay, right, umm do you think technology has changed your day to day life from what it was?

“No, not really because I was, I was just coming into it, if you took people like Arthur, let’s say, then its changed his life big time. Whereas we, like you, if you look at it, it’s partly grown up with it, I mean washing machines, microwaves for instance…”

Me: Yeah, that is very true because a lot of people don’t categorise (of our age), they don’t categorise washing machines, ovens, refrigerators… as technology.

“Yeah but it is!”

Me: They think of phones and VR headsets

“It’s all chips!”

Me: It’s exactly that, umm, so you’d roughly say, sort of like, not really, but just down to your sort of like interaction with it?…

“Yeah.”

Me: Okay, Thank you!

Interview 2 – Female (20s)

Me: What was the first technology you experienced or owned?

“Probably my first mobile phone or maybe an old computer, which would have either been an old flip phone, No! a Nokia was my first mobile! A little Nokia brick

Me: (Giggles) Yeah! I remember those!

“Or… yeah.”

Me: How old were you when you owned that?

“Like 13 haha!”

Me: Okay, how did you use tech? like to begin with? And like how do you think this has changed?

“Depends what kind of tech you’re talking about, because I remember when I was younger I used to listen to like CDs whereas now, we listen to music on our phones or iPods or….

Me: Yeah, it’s sort of like moved to streaming.

Okay, why would you say its changed?

“umm, what’s the word?

Me: Digitized?

“Well… just sort of the evolution of technology I suppose, things are getting better, people know more, they make better products

Me: That’s true…

Umm, how would you describe your initial exposure to technology?

“Initial as in the first?”

Me: Yeah

“umm, I don’t know, I can’t quite remember really…”

Me: That’s actually really interesting that you’ve said that…

“What?”

Me: That you can’t remember, I just find that really interesting, it’s difficult though because I was thinking about this the other day! Umm… so how has it changed? Your use of tech?

“Well I suppose, technology has become part of everyday life, so I use technology on my way to work, I can’t go without listening to music, can’t go throughout the day without at least talking to a friend,

Me: Yeah, that’s very true

“I use TV in the evenings”

Me: Right, why has your exposure changed?

“Because of the evolution of technology”

Me: So, obviously you interact with technology, umm, how frequently?

“Yeah, I use my phone, like ever 10 seconds! Haha! Nah, but quite often”

Me: Weird question but, would you describe your technology use is specific to any particular setting or location? Do you think it’s triggered by anything?

“(pauses)…”

Me: It’s a difficult question isn’t it?

“it could be… because I mean… you know when you’re so used to talking to someone so you check your phone?

Me: Yeah…

“Stuff like that…”

Me: I was writing a…(this is completely off topic but), I have to write like an auto-ethnography and I did one last week, and we had to like study our own behaviour and its like, I find that it’s triggered by like, conformity or like anxiety, or just being awkward  and stuff like that, I find it really interesting!

“Yeah! Like anxiety, Now If your waiting, and you don’t want to look awkward so you just look at your phone!

Me: Yeah! It’s exactly that! There’s a TED talk by Sherry Turkle who completely addresses this issue, it is really interesting!

“It’s so weird, isn’t it? When you actually think about it…”

Me: It’s mental! Umm, Okay. What forms of technology do you use? Like, now? And how?

“Umm, my mobile…”

Me: Okay…

“My laptop, My TV”

Me: So, what do you use those for? I know it’s pretty self-explanatory…

“Talking to people, Social media… umm, work, entertainment when I’m bored in the evenings, so I watch TV”

Me: Yep, Umm, what is your attitude/thoughts towards technology?

“(Sigh), Well… I have two sorts of opinions…”

Me: Okay…

“Firstly, It’s great how much people are like, developing it, so the amount we can do now, compared to when we first had our phones is ridiculous… how much it changed. So we can do so much more just on one tiny little device. However… I do believe, it’s taken over people’s lives.

Me: Yeah…

“Which is a negative.”

Me: It’s actually really interesting, that… that’s more of a… umm, sort of shared thing, Is there any particular reason why you have those views? Or is It just sort of like, could you give any personal sort of like examples….? Or is it just stuff you sort of like have taken on from other people?

“well, I suppose… I grew up without a mobile and I used to go out all the time. I would be out playing with my friends we’d call on each other by knocking on the door; not by texting! Whereas now I see my sisters grow up, and… all they do is sit on their phones all day, they sit with their friends on their phones, and I’m like… go climb a tree motherfucker! Haha!”

Me: It is! I do find it really sad! Umm, do you think that technology has changed your day to day life? And if so… how?

“Well, it’s easier to keep in contact with people… that you don’t live near anymore. Ummm… I don’t know!”

Me: I mean it’s down to stupid things like… I don’t know if you’re like that, but do you use a satnav to get to work?

“No…”

Me: What about checking your phone for traffic updates?

“No..”

Me: I was just wondering because I know people which know the way there are going but they still use apps like “Waze” just because of traffic updates, which is basically a sat Nav but it tells you if there are any accidents or cars broken down, that’s why I asked.

“Dunno, I don’t use that…”

Me: No? okay, alright! That’s it then! Haha! Thanks

Findings & Essay notes… 

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These findings have led me to discover an number of different discourses surrounded in our interections with technology… A major implication is that technology can create and emphaise a gap between ages for a number of different reasons. I found it particularly intruiging that the older of the two participants could easily recall initial experiences and exposures to technology whereas the younger participant struggled to remember. I feel that this may be due to the difference in exposures, Unlike the older male, technology was a new and different expereience whereas with the yonger female expereienced a higher and more significant exposure to technology for differing reasons therefore this may have made it difficult to complelely recall and reflect on her initial consumption and exposure because technology has been the ‘norm’ for so long. From this research I also feel that most interactions with technology are very socially loaded and to a certain degree (probably now more than earlier) have become cultural and social events. Both participants accessed and experienced technology from their parents, therefore it became a learned social activity. If I were to conduct this interview / research activity again, I would try to gain a wider set of participants from varying cultures because it would be very interesting to study how culture affects our interactions with technology, in particular… whether emphasis is placed on the social aspect of technological consumption or whether it is also linked with our cultural backgrounds and environments.

References:

M. Jorgensen; L. Phillips (2002) Discourse Analysis as Theory and Method (extract) London: Sage Books. p1-166

Noble, T. (2016) Interview with Thomas Noble, Interviewed by Charlotte Simpson. Discourse Analysis into Technology. 04, October [In person].

Morton, F. (2016) Interview with Frances Morton, Interviewed by Charlotte Simpson. Discourse Analysis into Technology. 04 October [Skype interview]

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