Research Methods (1) Interviews

10. Conducting the interview (c) Building trust and rapport

Trust is an important component of this relationship – especially in the context of several interviews with the same participant, as occurs in longitudinal studies. Non-verbal cues, including intonation, facial expressions, and body language, can reveal information within the interview. These cues also provide feedback to the interviewer about the direction and tone of the interview, and the participant’s comfort and trust levels.

“Ethnographers need the trust of people they work with to complete their task. An ethnographer who establishes a bond of trust will learn about the many layers of meaning in any community or program under study. Ethnographers build this bond on a foundation of honesty, and communicate this trust verbally and nonverbally. They may speak simply and promise confidentiality as the need arises. Nonverbally, an ethnographer communicates this trust through self-presentation and general demeanor. Appropriate apparel, an open physical posture, handshakes, and other nonverbal cues can establish and maintain trust between an ethnographer and a participant.” (Fetterman, 2009, 145).