Coding Interview Results


  • To learn how to code interviews
  • To code results from interviews


  • “Making General Ideas from Long Answers” handout (1 per participant)
  • “Interview Coding Sheet Example” handout (1 per participant)
  • Index Cards (several per participant)
  • Butcher paper/flip chart paper/whiteboard/chalkboard
  • Pre-selected interview clip
  • Speakers to listen to interview clip
  • Computers with headphones and interview audio/video (1 per participant) (optional)

Prepare Before

Choose a sample interview to play for the class. Create enlarged examples of index cards on your butcher paper, flip chart paper, whiteboard, or chalkboard.

Warm Up

Share your experience of interviewing. How did it go?  What did you learn? What most surprised you? Each person should share a highlight and a lowlight.


How would you try to figure out how many people felt one way or another from all the interviews we have done? Take responses from the group.

Explain that we are going to use coding — a technique used by professional researchers — although they usually use computers.

First we will practice synthesizing what the interviewees said into notes.

Pass out Making General Answers worksheet to everyone.  Have someone read the first question and answer.   As a group decide how to summarize the interview.  Repeat for the next question.

  • Possible Answer for First Summary:  teen pregnancy, cursing, violence
  • Possible Answer for Second Summary: depends on students, some have bad attitudes, others interact well

When we code interviews, each question goes on an index card for each person.  You will listen to the interview question by question and write the summary on one side and the interviewer code on the other side.

Everyone should get out a piece of paper to write their practice summaries.   Choose one person in the room who will write the final summary on an index card.   Play the interview over speakers so all can hear. After each question is answered, stop the interview and have everyone write down their summary.   Everyone should share their summary and reach a group decision on what the most accurate and shortest summary would be.

Repeat this until you feel the group is able to create summaries.   If the entire interview is not completed, one person can be assigned this interview to finish up.


What is challenging about writing a summary?

How do you decide what to include and what to leave out?

What should you do if someone says something very interesting, but it isn’t connected to any of the questions?

What should you do if someone says a particularly relevant or insightful quote that you want to remember?

Establish a protocol for these last two questions so everyone knows how to mark something that doesn’t fit into a question or how to tag the location of a great quote.


Coding interviews is time-consuming and really important work.  Make sure you are listening to what they say and their tone.  Try to capture both in your summary.


Now they will code their interview. Ideally, they will listen with headphones to the interview they conducted in pairs or individually.  You may be able to do this in the computer lab with interviews set up as separate audio files, or if students initially recorded the interview on their phone, they could use that.  Test the technology for what will work best for you.   If they code in pairs, they should confer after each question and decide what the summary will be.

Pass out a small stack of index cards to everyone.

See directions on Interview Coding Sheet handout and model what this would look like on chart paper.

They will repeat this process for every question that was asked and for any other interviews they have done.

Lead a discussion with these reflection questions:

  • Did you notice any trends from coding the information?
  • What question are you most curious about the answers?