In a paper by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM), which gathered about 14 experts and five researchers at the beginning of their research careers, the question was straightforward: “How many interviews are sufficient in qualitative research?” This is a question that every scholar or academic supervisor typically encounters throughout their entire scholarly career, where everyone endeavors to reach the golden number, where at the time, they say they have fulfilled the requirements of interviews in qualitative research.
Sarah Baker and Rosalinda Edwards pooled the answers from the researchers. Pretty much everybody, both senior researchers and new researchers, said that there was no specific number that could be released, and that there was no clear general rule for answering this question. There were a set of criteria to be considered, in determining the maximum number of interviews required for qualitative research.
Saturation is essential in the number of interviews that a research project needs to conduct. A researcher may see that the answers have become similar and satisfy his ambition compared to what is in his environment. He therefore decides that the interviews are sufficient and there is no need to increase the number. Theoretical saturation is described as the practical case where the researcher continues to sample relevant cases without new theoretical insights being derived from the data, and the answers that can be inferred from the data become redundant, in which case the research reaches saturation and the increase in the number of interviews becomes useless.
The bottom line of the interviews, is the opposite direction to ask, what’s the upper limit? Here we ask what is the minimum? When Alan Breiman talks about saturation and its limitations he also refers to the question of the minimum interview, which is defined as the same problem of not being able to identify, but the minimum is tied to the intensity of the diversity in the society from which we sample, if there’s great diversity, we’ll get different answers and from which we have to sample a lot, even to get to the saturation state.
The type of question or questions, which is also considered a basic limitation on the number of interviews that must be obtained, the question about an event may be that it did not happen, and here a single interview may be sufficient, as you refute the question and prove the event happened, here is the researcher if he added one or two or more interviews that are only for confirmation, because the first interview confirmed the occurrence of the event. So the type of questions, their breadth, their variety or variation, determines the size of the sample to be assured.
The purpose of research governs the number of qualitative interviews. When researchers pursue direct research questions to solve problems in local practice in practice in practice areas of application, a small number of interviews may be sufficient. While some believe that ethnographic research, anecdotal research or discourse analysis requires a small number of interviews, the number of interviews should be increased when addressing a controversial topic, anticipating or discovering exciting results in building complex conceptual analyzes. Of course, for the sake of professional credibility, it is better to seek excellence rather than convenience in your research.
Analysis and rigorous cross-examination of interviews can be far more important than the execution of a large number of interviews, which are usually considered good for research, but not always as well. A rich analysis that takes on detail and complexity is far more important than statistical and quantitative reasoning ultimately. Too often interviews make it difficult to analyze well, especially for researchers who are on time to present their research, and are caught in the number trap of superficiality. Here too many interviews are meaningless.
The scientific community needs to be aware of the kind of evidence that’s convincing the peer and the research community, and they’re satisfied when they get to that evidence, which needs to be unique. In addition to introducing you to a variety of methodological approaches and knowledge issues such as reliability, redundancy, universality, and usefulness, all these factors play a central role in determining the optimal number of interviews. When selecting a particular number from interviews, the researcher must have the right justification for that number, in front of his professors, peers, and all members of the scientific community; or at least he can make a defense of his choice under all of these enumerated determinants.
The proposed research preparation time plays an important role in determining the sufficient number of interviews, therefore internal and external determinants, as well as subjective determinants, control the sufficient number of interviews. Not all researchers have the time, money, and time to research partners to conduct interviews, so a large number of interviews may be difficult to conduct, copy, and analyze in time. The solution for researchers is to restrict the number of interviews.
The answer is, how many interviews are needed in qualitative research? His answer is “according to…” limitations and variables related to the researcher, the researcher, the research, the time and the place, the knowledge field, and many other things and it is not possible to determine a fixed and definitive number, there are wonderful books and research based on a single interview, such as “The Planet of Venus on Wheels,” by anthropologist Glia Frank. There are a significant number of cultural biographical books, which are based on a single interview. However, it should be noted that it is not always the interview that is used alone in research, this also affects the number, besides which note and documentation may be used, discussion groups/focus. The provision of the scientific community in which the researcher or student is located, access to saturation status, nature and purpose of the research remain essential criteria or parameters in determining the number of interviews required.