The basic qualitative interviewing kit, part 1

March 2, 2009

The basic interviewing kit

The basic interviewing kit

I’m on the road this week, for the first time in a while.  Just packing up and sorting through my supplies.  My current interview kit is so tiny that I’ve had to invest in a bright stripy pouch from Paperchase in order to stand any change of finding it in the bottom of my bag. 

What do I have?

Olympus digital voice recorder.  These are about £60 at the moment, and this dinky little recorder connects to the computer via USB.  It takes a single AAA battery (essential spare also pictured).  The micrphone on this machine is quite excellent, producing really good sound quality for interviews and group discussions.   When empty there are about 12 hours of recording time available – good for long interviewing days.  Battery life is a bit skittish – it’s easy to leave on by accident – so spares are still important.

I still slightly mourn the demise of my Sony Professional Walkman, where at least you got a physical cassette to keep at the end of every interview, but these are great.

Sony mini noise-cancelling headphones, around £99.  I love these.  They’re comfortable, they’re pretty, and they do exactly what it says on the tine.  Noise-cancelling headphones make it possible to listen back to voice recordings even when you’re in a noisy environment, like a train.  They are also perfect for listening to music and watching DVDs on your laptop.  White means they’re quite hard to lose, too. 

All this fits in one little pouch – tuck in a spare pack of batteries and even a couple of pens, and you’re good to go.

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