79 5.6The interview research method Interviewing is suitable in gaining different contextual factors from the participants and it provides researchers with the full advantages of being able to “explore topics in great depth, achieve a high degree of interviewer control and provide maximum interviewer’s flexibility for meeting unique situations” (D. Cooper & Schindler, 2003, p. 348). In order to unlock the mental constructions of the participants, a semi-structured in-depth face-to-face interview method was adopted. Punch (2005) claims that interviewing is suitable for gaining data from participants who have first-hand knowledge of the phenomenon under study, which here is tax compliance. All interviews for this research were pre-arranged to accommodate the participants. Interviews ran, on average, for one hour 15 minutes, they ranged from twenty minutes to two and half hours. The participants were given the choice of the interview location, including the participants’ and researcher’s premises, AUT, with two participants preferring public places (e.g. cafés) due to convenience. All interviews were conducted in English and transcribed in English. One Asian and one Pacific SME operator needed clarification of the term “tax compliance”, in question 2 from the interview schedule (see Appendix 6 for the list of interview questions). It required the researcher to simplify the terminology in order for them to understand and provide an answer. Subsequent to the interview, each participant was sent a full copy of the interview transcript for comment, correction and acceptance. Only five of the 59 participants returned with requests for amendments, due to commercially sensitive information. Opportunities were also given to the participants to contact the researcher if they had any concerns about the interviews. Transcribing the interviews took place shortly after the interviews. It was undertaken in conjunction with the field notes written during the interviews. The average transcription took ten hours per interview, as it required the researcher to interact closely with the data and to comprehend the meaning of the participants (Rubin & Rubin, 1995). Nearly 700 hours was spent on transcribing all the interviews, which enabled the researcher to not only be familiar with the participants’ accounts but also to link the multiple perspectives to the tax compliance phenomenon. The transcriptions recorded data that were relevant to the topic discussed. Though English was not the first language of some participants, the researcher did not find significant difference in terms of their
80 responses, as there was the opportunity to clarify with the researcher of any questions which they did not understand. 5.6.1Interview questions Some introduction and self disclosure was made to participants who were not known to the researcher. This was particularly important for the Maori, Pacific Peoples and Asian participants. Often, the participants reciprocated by revealing some background information about themselves and their business at the start of the interview. This
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