‘360 Degree Deliberative Interviewing’ and Ethnography to Increase Validity and Insights

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Jim Macnamara

Abstract

This article presents reflective critical analysis of a mixed method research project that affords methodological learning and implications. The research project is used here as a case study in research design and operationalization, rather than for its findings and conclusions. Therefore, the research objectives, research questions, methods, and operationalization of the project are explained insofar as they inform methodological analysis and conclusions. The literature reviewed in this article also pertains to research design and methodology rather than the disciplinary field of the research project used as a case study. In the research project, a series of time-interval interviews with multiple participants associated with the same activities—referred to here as 360-degree deliberative interviewing—and ethnography were used to extend, deepen and, in some cases, challenge the findings available from traditional social science research methods. The affordances of the approach taken, which borrowed from deliberative polling and applied triangulation with ethnographic and statistical data, are reported along with some limitations such as increases in time and cost of research. However, this analysis indicates that the advantages in terms of validity and depth of insights outweigh the costs. 

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