The concept of the Interview Society addresses the dominance of interview studies that seek to elicit respondents ‘experiences’ and ‘perceptions’. Prof Silverman argues that this vocabulary is deeply problematic, assuming an over-rationalistic account of behaviour and a direct link between the language of people’s accounts and their past and present psychic states. 

Using a Constructionist approach, he will develop these ideas, by asking what sort of data are we trying to retrieve through interviews, i.e. what do interviews reveal? He will also examine and discount the claimed intellectual auspices for most interview studies and the way in which interview data are usually analysed. He will conclude by showing how the reliability of interview transcripts can be improved and the analysis of interview data made more robust.


Prof David Silverman is Professor Emeritus in the Sociology Department at Goldsmiths College, Visiting Professor in the Management Department at King's College, University of London and the Business School, University of Technology, Sydney and Adjunct Professor, EDucation Faculty, QUT. He has authored 15 books and 45 journal articles on qualitative research, ethnography and conversation analysis. He is the author of four bestselling Sage textbooks on qualitative research and has published monographs on his research on a large public sector organization, medical consultations and HIV-test counselling. 

Prof Silverman has hosted workshops on qualitative research for PhD students in Australia since 2009 as well as in Europe, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Tanzania. He successfully supervised 30 PhD students, three of whom are now full Professors. 

About Research design

Your research degree requires the ability to apply "analytical and critical thinking skills to generate new knowledge, investigate problems and develop inventive solutions" (UQ HDR Graduate Attributes, 2017). This starts with determining the design of the research study through understanding and justifying the chosen methodologies and analytical methods. Building these skills during your research degree will equip you with the knowledge to apply them in a wide variety of contexts during your career.

The Graduate School has a range of sessions covering research methodolgy and methods delivered by esteemed providers such as ISSR.

Useful links

  1. National University of Singapore Quantitative and Qualitative Research for Beginners
  2. University of Endinburgh Introduction to Social Research Methods
  3. TUDelfts Multidisciplinary Research Methods for Engineers
  4. UQ's Introduction to Psychological Research Methods