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About the interviews

Interviews are an important research method in the social sciences. There are different kinds of interviews. HOUWEL interviews will be semi-structured qualitative interviews. That means that the interviewers will use interview questions as guiding posts throughout the interview, leaving plenty of room for topics unforeseen by the researcher to arise and be discussed. This type of interview elicits topic specific stories, and attempts to get a full picture of how decisions are made and life situations negotiated.

Who will be interviewed

We would like to interview, whenever possible, all the adult members of a household. This does not mean two interviews in the case of couples, but that adult members will be interviewed together. In cases where more than one generation of adults shares the same household, however, we would like to interview different generations separately.

During the interview we will ask you to identify important members of your family network, people you depend on a day to day basis, or people who have significantly contributed to your current well-being. Following the interview we will like to ask you to facilitate our interviewing of a few of these related households. This would help us understand certain situations from multiple points of view, and will help us get a better picture of how the situations were negotiated.

Structure of the interview

The interview will focus on your housing history, the relationships with family members that contributed to your housing decisions, and subjective meanings of home. We will ask questions about:

  • How you came to live in your house
  • What you had to do to make your house a home, and who were the people that contributed to that
  • What kind of investment is your house and what does it mean to you
  • How did your family situation and housing wealth shape your current housing situation
  • How is distance to your extended family shaping your daily home life


The interview will last between one and one-and-a-half hours. It will take place at your home, at a time of your convenience. The conversation will be recorded, in order to facilitate the analysis of multiple interviews. Also, during the interview we will take notes. During the interview or at the end, the interviewer will probably ask you for permission to take a few pictures of your home.


  • The information you provide in the interview is for scientific purposes only. It will never be used for any commercial purpose.
  • The information you provide in the interview is important to our investigation, but we understand that you are providing it on a completely voluntary basis and have the right to withdraw from the study at any time.
  • The information you are providing is anonymous. Each interview recording and additional notes will be given a code that identifies them. Any names and personal information about you will be stored separately from the interview data. The research team will be the only party able to connect the two.
  • Data from each interview will be analyzed in connection with data from all other interviews and particular stories and situations will not be reproduced in recognizable form. Interview transcripts will be analyzed only by the project team and no third parties will be able to use the data without authorization from the principal investigator of the project.
  • Visual data may be used for the illustration of books and articles produced by the project team. No visual elements that identify you or your house will be used in any of the outputs of the project.