Post-Conference Workshop, Thursday, June 15, 2017: Clean Interviewing: Keeping Your Stuff Out And Gathering Their Stuff In - 8 hr class


8 hours


To investigate how the wording of interview questions can unintentionally and unknowingly bias answers, how ‘leading’ questions cast doubt on the authenticity of the data collected, and how you can avoid this by asking ‘clean’ questions.

The aim of this workshop is for you to learn and integrate the principles of Clean Interviewing and to develop your ability to design and frame clean questions during practice interviews. You will learn how to interview using Clean Language so your interviewees are given maximum opportunity to provide reliable information ‘uncontaminated’ by an interviewer’s framing, presuppositions and metaphors.

You will also learn a new process for validating the ‘cleanness’ of an interview thereby increasing the robustness of your methodology.

Interview technique is vital in a number of research areas. However, the value of the data gathered depends on the quality of questions asked.


Because asking questions is so common, interviewers can be lulled into believing that interviewing is unproblematic and requires little specialist knowledge. Empirical research shows however, that even a single word (especially a metaphor) or presupposition can materially ‘lead the witness’. Interviewee answers may then be subject to the ‘consistency effect’, the ‘acquiescence bias’, and the ‘friendliness effect’ (Podsakoff, MacKenzie & Podsakoff, 2003). Added to this, the potential for ‘priming’ and ‘confirmation bias’ by the interviewer (Oswald & Grosjean, 2004), can result in a low ‘signal to noise’ ratio at best, and compromised validity at worst.


Clean Interviewing, an application of Clean Language (Grove & Panzer, 1989), reduces unintended interviewer bias and protects the integrity of interviewee information. Clean questions keep interviewees focused on the research topic without restricting or leading them. It also provides a method for validating the authenticity of the data collected using a ‘cleanness’ rating (Lawley & Linder-Pelz, 2016).

Aims & Outcomes

The workshop will provide the research base and practical activities for participants to learn: (1) how bias is unintentionally introduced into an interview, (2) how to use classically clean questions; (3) how to construct contextually clean questions which maximize the collection of relevant information; and (4) how to use a cleanness rating instrument to assess the authenticity of the data collected.

Skills & Activities

Participants will:

  • Learn to distinguish between clean and leading questions based on real interview excerpts. 
  • Experience the felt difference between answering clean questions and those containing leading presuppositions and metaphors. 
  • Learn and practice interviewing using clean questions.
  • Learn and practice using the cleanness rating instrument.
Price: $500.00