Data collection - Overview on interviewing

At the end of March, I wrote this entry about recruitment for interviews. If I recall correctly, at that time I had a total of about 13 interviews (few completed, some undergoing, many yet to start). Four months later, recruitment and interviewing are still one of my major activity, and this is the current situation:

  • 21 interviews successfully completed:
  • 10 interviews currently undergoing:
  • 7 interviews on hold/waiting for confirmation:
  • 2 refusal only, so far.

Surprisingly, the most chosen interviewing medium is the forum private messages system. 9 interviews happened over e-mails, 4 through IRC and one face-to-face. All the remaining interviews run through the forum PM. I did not expected it, but it is a nice surprise.

Since I'm interested in heterogeneity of views, but I do not need any kind of representativeness, I try to recruit people on the basis of my specific research interests of that particular moment. So far I interviewed core developers (with SVN commit access), add-on contributors, art contributors, translators, WML experts, music contributors, and forum members: nearly the whole spectrum. However, I need to reach more non-contributing end-users.

Of course, being these ones, ethnographic interviews, I tailor each interview (which could be more correctly referred as guided conversation) for the interviewee at hand. Moreover, the specific interest vary accordingly to the specific period of the research (i.e. the aspects I'm focusing in these days are rather different from the ones I begun with). However, some common and recurrent topics (listed in their general form) are:

  • First/early encounters with the game
  • First/early attempts at contributing
  • Learning processes
  • Usage of/relationship with the community infrastructure (working tools, communication media)
  • Development and maintenance of community infrastructure
  • Users/Devs negotiations (features request, Frequently Proposed Ideas,..)
  • Wesbreaks
  • Game and content licensing policy
  • Game design
  • Collaborative add-on/campaign design and development
  • Fun and commitment
  • Contributing procedures
  • ...