In this paper we describe and illustrate the use of an exploratory first interview to refine research questions or interviewing ideas prior to finalizing plans for a study about classroom issues or practices. Three researchers give accounts of their exploratory interviews concerning student “aliteracy,” the school experience of immigrant students, and mathematics teachers’ experience of assessment and grading. The researchers endeavored to acquire an holistic understanding of their participants’ experiences by: using open-ended questions about both the topic and the participants’ lives in general; asking participants to complete pre-interview activities such as drawings or diagrams about either the topic or their lives in general; and framing the guiding data collection question as “How does the participant experience [topic of interest]?” Each of the researchers either revised their research questions or changed their ideas about how to do the interviews based upon what transpired in these interviews.



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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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