Fragmented, hectic and satisfactory interviewing
I'm basically done with my first batch of interviews. I'm just waiting the last two replies from two interviewees and then I need to do some sorting of the mateiral, but a part from that, I say that I'm quite satisfied!
I had six interviews. Two people are mostly gamers and 'minor' contrinutors within the Italian Wesnoth community. The other four interviewees are regular contributors (one was regular and got now retired) within the international/official scope of Wesnoth. Interviews were carried in a fragmented and heterogenous way: three of them over e-mail, two over IRC, and one face-to-face!
This has been an exciting experience because it allows you to interact in different ways with the people who are connected with Wesnoth, and this is interesting both from the perspective of research methodology but also at the personal level. The different ways of conducting the interviews also force you to re-think and tailor your questions (and basically, what you want to know form them) accordingly to the kind of interaction with the interviewee.
At the same time it was a difficult effort because of some issues, mainly organizational/logistic ones: tailoring the questions is an inspiring activity for the research, but it is also work to be done. Moreover, time management becomes an issue because the e-mail interview goes on for weeks, while IRC and F2F interviews last no longer than 2h (and within these two hours there are huge differences for the breadth and depth of details you can enter when having to talk or to type). Planning the interview is challenging: while e-mail interviews do not require planning, F2F and IRC ones do. And it is more difficult to agree on a date for F2F, but once you have it there is little or no risk to get 'dumped', while in IRC it is not a problem to find a date/time, but it is much easier that something else step in the way between the two (maybe you are working at home and phone rings, child wakes up...). Moreover, IRC it requires you to really understand how timezones work! ;)
From the persepctive of collected data I also have some work to do now: after transcribing on a text fie the F2F interview, I still have some interviews fragmented in several e-mails in my Evolution mail client, while other interviews are logged in my Empathy conversation log...so I guess there will be some work for standardizing them a little bit.