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Using Semi-structured Interviews in International and Cross-cultural Contexts - 3 ECTS

Date and time

Wednesday 15 May 2024 at 10:30 to Friday 17 May 2024 at 16:30

Registration Deadline

Monday 6 May 2024 at 23:55


Dalgas Have - room DHV 2.69, 2.70 & 2.71 (second floor), Dalgas Have 15, 2000 Frederiksberg Dalgas Have - room DHV 2.69, 2.70 & 2.71 (second floor)
Dalgas Have 15
2000 Frederiksberg

Using Semi-structured Interviews in International and Cross-cultural Contexts - 3 ECTS

Course coordinator: Magali Gravier, Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)



Associate professor Magali Gravier
Department of Management, Society and Communication, CBS

Professor Mette Zølner
School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University


The participants are required to submit a 5-page written document. This document is not a general presentation of the thesis project but a reflection on the participants’ use of interviews in their Ph.D. project, relating as much as possible to the curriculum literature. Presentations are read by the faculty as well as the other course participants. They form the basis for reflections and discussions of each other’s projects throughout the course.

Deadline for submission of the presentation is two weeks before the course begins (Wednesday 1 May 2024).

It is a precondition for receiving the course diploma that PhD students participate the entire course.


The aim of the course is twofold. First it aims at combining 1) theoretical and methodological reflections on semi-structured interviews with 2) practical exercises in interviewing techniques. Second, the course includes planning, conducting and analyzing semi-structured interviews for research projects involving international or/and cross-cultural settings, (such as national, professional, industrial cultures). In doing so, the course offers an opportunity to “put in practice” and discuss issues that literature often ignores or disregards concerning the use of semi-structured interviews in international and cross-cultural settings.

Like all methods, interviewing requires practical know-how. Reading about how to conduct interviews is fundamental but not enough to become a good interviewer. This is why this course offers a strong combination of theoretical knowledge and hands-on exercises. This includes the use of video recording and live-interviewing during group work.

Although societies and organizations are increasingly diverse, both culturally and linguistically, literature is scarce on how to conduct interviews in international and intercultural settings. Further, only a small number of studies tend to consider the way in which cultural and linguistic differences challenge methodologically interview techniques. This is surprising since crossing institutional, linguistic and/or cultural boundaries raises a number of questions in all phases of interview studies: selecting interviewees; accessing interviewees; conducting interviews; and analysing interviews. The course will offer an opportunity to reflect upon these issues in relation to the PhD theses of the course participants.

Course content

The course will cover:

  • Conceptualizing cross-cultural contexts;
  • Typologies of interviews;
  • Philosophy of science, scientific paradigms;
  • Preparatory phase to interviews (a.o. identifying interview population, choice of appropriate type of interview; preparation of interview grid; choice of language);
  • Techniques of interviewing (the “art” of questioning; recording; choice of language);
  • Techniques and strategies for analyzing interview content;
  • Use of interview data for presentations and publications (a.o. transcribing or not; quoting interviews; coding; legitimacy and credibility of the method).

Teaching style

Short lectures with dialogues, exercises in conducting, coding and analyzing semi-structured interviews, student presentations and discussions.

Lecture plan

Programme (subject to minor modifications)

Day 1- Introducing semi-structured interviews and methodological challenges

10.30 - 11.30: Introduction to the course and participants

11.30 - 12.15: Why a particular consideration for culture and language when doing interviews?

12.15 - 12.45: Typologies of interviews – semi-structured interviews

12.45 - 13.45: Lunch

13.45 - 14.45: Semi-structured interviews and scientific paradigms

14.45 - 15.30: Group work on methodology sections

15.30 - 16.15 What is an interview guide? - preparing interview guide

16.15 - 16.45: Debriefing

Day 2 - Conducting semi-structured interviews

9.00 - 11.00: Conducting factual, conceptual, narrative interviews.

11.00 - 12.30: Group work:                      

a) Conducting interviews – (focus: opening, rapport, closing).
b) Plenary exercise: Watching and listening to interviews; discussion

12.30 - 13.30: Lunch

13.30 - 15.00: Group work: Conducting interviews – narrative interviews (focus: follow-up questions; formulating questions)

15.00 - 16.00: Plenary discussion: Listening to, watching, and discussing interview examples.

16.00 - 17.00: Debriefing: How to present your approach to conducting interviews in your Ph.D. methodology section?

Day 3 - Analysing interviews

9.00 - 9.30: Transcribing interviews

9.30-10.30: Introducing three analytical techniques:

  • Content analysis
  • Narrative analysis
  • Coding and categories with grounded analysis

10.45 - 12.00: Group work:

  • Coding manually
  • Different layouts for coding

12.00 -  13.00: Lunch

13.00 – 13.30: Showing your analysis

13.30 - 14.30: Group presentations and discussion

14.30 - 15.00: From analysing to presenting results

15.15 - 16.00: Debriefing: How would you present your analysis of interviews in your Ph.D. methodology section?

16.00 - 16.30: Evaluation and summing up on the course

Learning objectives

Upon completion of the course, students:

  • will have a good understanding of semi-structured interviews in relation to other types of qualitative interviews;
  • will have acquired good insight into potentialities and challenges when using semi-structured interviews in research on international and/or cross-cultural settings.
  • will have improved their practice of conducting, coding and analyzing semi-structured interviews as well as presenting research drawing on such interviews
  • will be capable of integrating acquired insights into their own PhD projects.



Course Literature

LITERATURE (INDICATIVE – will not be uploaded on CBS Canvas): 

Expected readings are indicated in bold characters and can be downloaded from the CBS library. 

Alvesson, M. 2011. Interpreting interviews. London: Sage. 

Bernard, H. R., A. Wutich, and G. W. Ryan. 2017. Analyzing qualitative data: Systematic approaches. Second edition. Los Angeles: SAGE. 

Braun, V. & Clarke, V. 2006. ‘Using thematic analysis in psychology’, Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3:2, 77-101 

Braun, V., and Clarke, V. 2021. Thematic Analysis: A Practical Guide. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Czarniawska, B. 2004. ‘Narratives in an interview situation’, in B.Czarniawska Narratives in social science research. London: Sage Publications, pp. 47-59. 

Cassell, C., Bishop, F., Symon, G., Johnson, P. and Buehring, A. 2009. Learning to be a qualitative management researcher, Management Learning, 40(5): 513-533 

Denzin N. K. and Lincoln Y. S., 2018 (5th ed.). The Sage handbook of qualitative research. Los Angeles: Sage. 

Flick, U., ed. 2014. The Sage handbook of qualitative data analysis. Los Angeles: Sage. In particular: Reichertz, J. “Induction, Deduction, Abduction.” 

Flick, U. ed. 2017. The Sage handbook of data collection. Los Angeles: Sage. In particular: Resch K. and E. Enzenhofer, Collecting Data in Other Languages - Strategies for Cross-Language Research in Multilingual Societies. 

Gioia, D. A., Corley, K. G., and Hamilton, A. L. (2012). ‘Seeking Qualitative Rigor in Inductive Research: Notes on the Gioia Methodology’, Organizational Research Methods, 16(1): 15-31. 

Gioia, D. A., Price, K. N., Hamilton, A. L., Thomas, J. B., 2010. ‘Forging an Identity: An Insider-outsider Study of Processes Involved in the Formation of Organizational Identity’, Administrative Science Quarterly, 55 (2010): 1–46. 

Gubrium, J. F.; Holstein, J. A.; Marvasti, A. B.; McKinney, K. D., (2012), The SAGE Handbook of Interview Research: The Complexity of the Craft, Second Edition.  

In particular, the following chapters: 

Carter, S. K., and Christian L. Bolden. 2012. “Culture Work in the Research Interview.” 

Charmaz, K. and Belgrave, L. L. ‘Qualitative Interviewing and Grounded Theory Analysis’; 

Lillrank, A. ‘Managing the Interviewer Self’; 

Potter, J. & Hepburn, A., ‘Eight Challenges for Interview’; 

Guttormsen, D. S. A., J. Lauring, and M. Chapman. 2021. Field Guide to Intercultural Research. Elgar field guides. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing. 

Jack, G. and Westwood, R. 2006. Post-colonialism and the politics of qualitative research in international business. Management International Review, 46(4): 481-501. 

Kvale, S. and S. Brinkmann (2014). Interviews. Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing. London: Sage, 3d ed. 

Leavy, P., ed. 2014. The Oxford handbook of qualitative research. Oxford library of psychology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 

Malterud, K.. 2012. “Systematic Text Condensation: a Strategy for Qualitative Analysis.” Scandinavian journal of public health 40 (8): 795–805. 

Marshan-Piekkari, R. and Welch, C. Eds. (2004), Handbook of qualitative research. Methods for international business. London: Edward Elgar. 

In particular, the following chapters: 

Marschan-Piekkari, R. et al., ‘Interviewing in the multinational collaboration: Challenges of the organizational context’, pp.244-263; 

Macdonald, S. and Hellgren, B., ‘The Interview in International Business Research: Problems we would rather not talk about’, pp. 264-281; 

Wilson, E. M., ‘An outsider in India’, pp. 421-437 

Nadin, S., and C. Cassell. 2006. “The use of a research diary as a tool for reflexive practice.” Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management 3 (3): 208–17. 

Nairn, K., J. Munro, and A. B. Smith. 2016. “A counter-narrative of a ‘failed’ interview.” Qualitative Research 5 (2): 221–44. 

Qun, Zhao, and Neil Carey. 2023. “Translating Interviews, Interpreting Lives: Bi-Lingual Research Analysis Informing Less Westernised Views of International Student Mobility.” Qualitative Research, doi:10.1177/14687941221149588.

Ryen, A. (2002). Cross-cultural interviewing. In J.F. Gubrium & J.A. Holstein (Eds.), Handbook of interview research. Context and method (pp. 335–354). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 

Saldaña J., 2013. The Coding Manual for Qualitative Researchers, Sage, 2nd ed.  

Salmons, J. 2015. Qualitative online interviews. Sage. 2nd ed. 

St. Pierre, E. A. and Jackson, A.Y. 2014. Qualitative data analysis after coding. Qualitative Inquiry, 20(6): 715-719. 

Tavory, I., and S. Timmermans. 2014. Abductive Analysis: Theorizing Qualitative Research. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 

Timmermans, S., Tavory. 2012. “Theory Construction in Qualitative Research: From Grounded Theory to Abductive Analysis.” Sociological Theory 30 (3): 167–86. 

Trent, A., and J. Cho. 2014. “Interpretation Strategies: Appropriate Concepts.” In The Oxford handbook of qualitative research, edited by Patricia Leavy. Oxford library of psychology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 

Urquhart, C., et al. 2003. ‘Critical incident technique and explicitation interviewing in studies of information behavior’. Library & Information Science Research, 25 (1) (0): 63-88. 

Welch, C., and R. Piekkari. 2017. “How should we (not) judge the ‘quality’ of qualitative research? A re-assessment of current evaluative criteria in International Business.” Journal of World Business 52 (5): 714–25. 

Welch, C., and R. Piekkari. 2006. “Crossing language boundaries: Qualitative interviewing in international business.” Management International Review 46 (4): 417–37. doi:10.1007/s11575-006-0099-1. 

Zhang, L. E., and D. S. A. Guttormsen. 2016. “Multiculturality” as a key methodological challenge during in-depth interviewing in international business research.” Cross Cultural & Strategic Management 23 (2): 232–56.

Registration deadline and conditions

The registration deadline is 3 April 2024. If you want to cancel your registration on the course it should be done prior to this mentioned date. By this date we determine whether we have enough registrations to run the course, or who should be offered a seat if we have received too many registrations.

If there are more seats available on the course we leave the registration open by setting a new regsitration deadline in order to fill remaining seats. Once you have received our acceptance/welcome letter to join the course, your registration is binding and we do not refund your course fee. The binding registration date will be the registration deadline mentioned above.

Payment methods
Make sure you choose the correct method of payment upon finalizing your registration:
CBS students:
Choose payment method CBS PhD students and the course fee will be deducted from your PhD course budget.
Students from other Danish universities: 
Choose payment method Danish Electronic Invoice (EAN). Fill in your EAN number, attention and possible purchase (project) order number.
Do you not pay by EAN number please choose Invoice to pay via electronic bank payment (+71). 
Students from foreign universities:
Choose payment method Payment Card. Are you not able to pay by credit card please choose Invoice International to pay via bank transfer. 

Event Location

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Organizer Contact Information

CBS PhD School
Nina Iversen

Phone: +45 3815 2475

Organizer Contact Information

CBS PhD School
Nina Iversen

Phone: +45 3815 2475