Mobile Interviewing: data collection on the move

Key information

Start date:
22 October 2024
Attendance dates:

22 October 2024

Time commitment:
1 day
Stag Hill campus, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH
Contact details:


Mobile interviews represent a useful tool for investigating people’s relationship with space and allows the researcher to explore issues within the context they occur. The researcher can use the environment as a prompt to discussion and the respondents can use it as an aid to illustrate the points they want to get across.  This course is designed primarily for researchers with some previous experience of qualitative interviewing who want to start using mobile methods.  The day includes sessions exploring the different application of mobile interviews, planning routes and developing discussion guides. The teaching sessions will be interspersed with practical exercises and demonstrations aimed at getting participants to think about the practicalities of undertaking mobile interviews.  Participants will be given the opportunity to undertake practice walking interviews, experience being interviewed and observe a walking interview taking place. Issues around recording and filming interviews will also be discussed along with ethical considerations.    

Please note: this course does not cover the use of computer software programmes to assist qualitative data analysis. See events run by the CAQDAS networking project at the University of Surrey for training on specific CAQDAS packages.

Learning outcomes

  • To understand the nature of mobile methods and the different contexts in which they can be used
  • To be able to develop a strong rationale to justify the use of mobile methods in a wide range of research programmes
  • To understand how to design and develop a mobile interview plan
  • To understand the ethical and analytic considerations of using these methods.

Course content

  • What is a mobile interview? And when should they be used?
  • Setting up a mobile interview, challenges, ethics and potential pitfalls 
  • Developing an interview and route guide
  • Practical exercise Part 1 – preparing an interview guide and route guide
  • Practical exercise Part 2 - practice interviews
  • Feedback from the practical exercise and opportunity to ask questions.

Learning and teaching methods

Presentations, discussions, guided exercises, independent group exercises.



Course leader

Thomas Roberts profile image

Dr Tom Roberts

Senior Lecturer Environmental Sociology; Co-director Institute for Sustainability

Dr Thomas Roberts has over 15 years’ experience undertaking and teaching qualitative methods. He has led more than 100 mobile interviews in a wide range of environments including walking around community projects, house/workplace tours, cycling, canoeing, running and even Scuba diving! Thomas is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Co- director of the University of Surrey’s Institute for Sustainability.

Entry requirements

A basic understanding of standard qualitative methods will be helpful.

Fees and funding

Price per person:


UGPN student discount


Students (all non-UGPN)


UGPN staff discount


Education and charitable sector applicants


Government and commercial sector applicants

What these fees include

Course materials, lunch, refreshments and parking.

Funding opportunities

Participants applying for either UGPN discount will need to use their University email address to be eligible.

  • North Carolina (NC) State University:  
  • University of Sāo Paulo (USP): 
  • University of Wollongong: 
  • University of Surrey:

All staff and students at any of the above institutions are now eligible for the UGPN discount as part of UGPN.

How to apply

Applications will be through our online store.

Apply now

Terms and conditions

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Further details of our terms and conditions will follow.


This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the commencement of the course. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read the full disclaimer.

Course location and contact details

Campus location

Stag Hill

Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught. 

Nita Walker Administrative Officer, Short Courses

University of Surrey
Surrey GU2 7XH