Research protocols and techniques

This page is evolving to present information about the evolving research protocols and techniques we have used in CEOHP. The practice interviews we conducted during workshops allowed potential interviewers to train with the appropriate interview procedures.

The baseline protocols were developed by two ITiCSE working groups and published in reports (cited at the end of this page). We continue to evolve our procedures to include the steps needed to fully process an interview and add it to the CEOHP collection. While these documents are not yet sufficiently mature to share here, anyone interested in learning about this aspect of the project before we feature it here can contact the project leaders.

The following documents provided the foundation for CEOHP's process for collecting an interview:

  • Topic outline: A list of topics we recognized as key issues of interest for these interviews (developed during the 2005 ITiCSE Working Group).
  • Guidelines for conducting CEOHP interviews: These guidelines were vital as we began to gain experience with the process of conducting and processing interviews. We will expand this section to better reflect our evolving techniques and tools (developed during the 2005 ITiCSE Working Group).
  • The original probing questions: Based on the topic outline listed above, the 2005 ITiCSE Working Group developed a set of probing questions to use during the semi-structured interviews. The expectation was that the interview would be allowed to flow, but that the interviewer would use these questions as prompts to ensure that key topics had been covered consistently across all of the interviews.
  • The areas for probing questions: After three years of experience with conducting interviews, the 2008 ITiCSE Working Group modified the probing questions to better reflect actual use. We had discovered that the wording of the questions themselves was context-dependent and that a more useful tool would be a list of areas with reminders of key issues in that area.

These two ITiCSE Working Group reports are the sources for the PDF documents listed above:

  • ALMSTRUM, V. L., BARKER, L. J., OWENS, B. B., ADAMS, E., ASPRAY, W., DALE, N. B., DANN, W., LAWRENCE, A., AND SCHWARTZMAN, L. 2005. Working Group on Building a Sense of History: Narratives and Pathways of Women Computing Educators. SIGCSE Bulletin inroads, 37(4) (Dec. 2005), 173-189. DOI =
  • ALMSTRUM, V. L., APPLIN, E. G., OWENS, B. B., ADAMS, E., BARKER, L. J., IMPAGLIAZZO, J., JOSEPH, P. A., KAHLON, A., LAST, M. Z., LAWRENCE, A., AND YOUNG, A. 2008. Computing educators oral history project: seeking the trends. SIGCSE Bulletin inroads, 40(4). (Nov. 2008), 122-141. DOI =