Introduction to Clean Interviewing

Come and join us to learn the principles of using Clean Language in semi-structured interviewing – and how to apply these principles to gather high quality information from clients, job candidates and research participants. 

Clean Interviewing brings together the relatively new methodology of Clean Language with the time-honoured art and science of semi-structured, qualitative interviewing.

  • During this 3-day hands-on course, you’ll learn how to use simple, robust, clean methods to: 
  • Clarify the purpose of an interview - and who owns that purpose.  
  • Use that knowledge to help keep the interview on track.
  • Boost your data quality by sticking close to the interviewee’s responses and so be able to demonstrate reduced interviewer bias in your results.
  • Distinguish clearly between metaphors and concepts introduced by the researcher and those that belong to the interviewee’s subjective world.
  • Explore an active interview - live and in the moment - from different perspectives: interviewer, interviewee and ‘overviewer’ (name we are giving to the person who owns the purpose of the interview, if not the interviewer themselves, e.g someone who is commissioning the research).

Come along and find out for yourself just how much a clean approach can enhance your next interview.

Who's it for?

  • Academic researchers
  • Market researchers
  • Consultants
  • Teachers
  • Managers
  • Recruiters
  • Police
  • Health workers
  • Journalists / authors
  • Anyone who interviews others and wants to find out what they really think and feel

You do not need any prior experience of Clean Language in order to attend this course. 

What will I gain?

As an interviewer:

  • Insights into clean and unclean questions and how they impact on interviews
  • The principles of clean interviewing.
  • An opportunity to categorise questions into standard clean, contextually clean, mildly leading and strongly leading.
  • How to design your clean interviews.
  • What constitutes ‘fit for purpose’ in your data gathering.
  • How to make your data more robust by reducing interviewer bias

As an interviewee:

  • Experience what it is like to be interviewed cleanly and uncleanly.
  • Gain greater understanding of your own internal behaviour. While Clean Interviewing is not the same as clean coaching, many participants have found that the ground they cover during a Clean Interview gives rise to changes in external behaviour.

As an overviewer:

  • Discuss how you might design your clean interviewing briefing such that your interviewer can deliver questions that will fulfil your purpose.

What's involved?

Day 1: An Introduction to Clean Interviewing

  • Learn about your fellow attendees and what you’d all like from the training.
  • Find out more about Clean Interviewing by taking part (as trainee interviewer) in an interview about Clean Interviewing with one of the trainers.
  • Learn about clean questions and adjacency, with exercises to distinguish between standard clean, contextually clean, mildly leading and strongly leading questions.
  • Discover how to use inherent logic and clean questions to build specific models
  • Practice in interviewing fellow participants cleanly
  • The principles of Clean Interviewing

Day 2: Practical Applications for Clean Interviewing

  • Understand your purpose for Clean Interviewing and how to frame your research or interview questions from the start.
  • Learn how to be an “equal opportunity employer” of information – taking on the interviewee’s information in the form that they are experiencing it: as pictures, feelings, metaphors etc.
  • Practise summarising your interviewee’s contribution cleanly through the session and allowing them to reflect on their information in-the-moment.
  • How to keep the interviewee on target when they talk too much or go off on a tangent.
  • Receive feedback on your Clean Interviewing skills.

Day 3: Practice with observation and feedback

The course trainers will also interview all participants before the course (a) so that you will have an experience of being cleanly interviewed and (b) to learn about you and the mix of participants, so they can tailor the course accordingly.

Additional information

Why train with us?

Clean Learning and our sister company, Training Attention, have over 15 years of experience of conducting clean and clean-ish interviews in a broad range of sectors including:

    • Police video interviewing
    • Gathering stakeholder interviews to inform culture change projects
    • Recruitment
    • Assessment centres
    • Academic research
    • Focus groups
    • Mediation
    • Critical incidents
    • Partnership working - interviews for individuals and across diverse groups

Additional Information

You may find it useful to watch some or all of a webinar series on Clean Interviewing  that Marian and Phil took part in last year:

Clean Interview 1: Caitlin Walker interviews Phil on how he stays calm while training new glider pilots.

Clean Interview 2: James Lawley interviews Marian on how she takes into account the reader when she is writing a book.

Clean Interview 3: Marian interviews Caitlin on how she maintains a strong presence as a group facilitator without dominating the group.

Clean Interview 4: Phil interviews James on what happened when he was held up at gunpoint.

In each of these webinars a third member of the team interviews the interviewer to find out what is happening in their mind as the interview is progressing.

Check out this article on Clean Language Interviewing (Wikipedia) which includes its history and features as well as a list of published research that has utilised Clean Language Interviewing.

Upcoming events

We're sorry - we don't have any events scheduled at the moment. If you have a small group (6 or more people) who are interested, we may be able to run the event in your area. Please contact us.

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