Looking back over recent months, by far the most common form of research I’ve carried out is that stalwart of qualitative studies—the interview. A simple, semi-structured, one-on-one interview can provide a very rich source of insights. Interviews work very well for gaining insights from both internal and external stakeholders, as well as from actual users of a system under consideration. Though, in this column, I’ll focus on stakeholder interviews rather than user interviews.
Outside of the formal SME interview, a writer's relationship with engineers and experts is built on trust, respect, and a little bit of bribery.
At times, though, a writer is a bit overwhelmed at the start-of-work meeting. He becomes passive and takes in everything the client lays out without asking for more. That can result in some information that’s very important to the writer being missed.