‘Ultimate Introvert’ to the ‘Touchy-Chummy’: Using Simulations to Teach Interviewing Skills

  • Timi Lynne Barone University of Nebraska at Omaha
  • Samantha K Ammons University of Nebraska at Omaha


In-depth interviews represent one of the most commons forms of qualitative data used in social science research, especially in ethnography.  Yet preparing students to conduct good in-depth interviews is an area of relative neglect in social science literature, despite the potential marketability of this skill for anthropology and sociology students. Practice in communities may be impractical and/or problematic because of wariness due to historical legacies, as well as current political and economic uncertainty.  However, relying on peer-interactions for “mock” interviews is problematic because of students’ collective inexperience.  Without sufficient preparation, mistakes can be costly for all.  In this paper, we advocate for the use of a simulated interview participant (SIP) to better prepare students as interviewers.  We provide 12 SIPs and guidance for implementing them in classrooms.  Through SIPs, instructors or other actors expose students to common interviewer pitfalls and better prepare them for research in diverse communities.