Introduction to Clean Interviewing

23-25 October 2019 10.00am - 5.30pm
Portchester, Hampshire, United Kingdom
With Marian Way, Phil Swallow


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.


Marian Way's photo

Marian Way

A highly skilled facilitator and trainer, Marian, who founded Clean Learning in 2001, has developed and delivered training across the world. She is the author of Clean Approaches for Coaches and co-author, with James Lawley, of Insights in Space. Marian is...

Phil Swallow's photo

Phil Swallow

Phil Swallow has worked closely with leaders in the developing field of clean approaches, both in UK and France, as experienced facilitator, co-trainer and assessor.  He wishes David Grove could be here now to know the spread and development...

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.

Frequently asked questions

What is Clean Language?

Clean Language is a simple set of questions developed by counselling psychologist David Grove. These questions are used with a person's own words to direct their attention to some aspect of their own experience. Asking these questions in the right context often results in an interesting new insight or the recognition of some new possibility. And if that new possibility is then questioned using Clean Language, the result can be quite profound. Clean questions invite people to consider their experience from different perspectives and they are often surprised by their own capacity to generate new, powerful and useful ideas about their own experience.

More detail

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