1. Interview

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Right methods help us gathering data that enable us to answer our research questions. Two methods have been used in this research, including interview and domain analysis.

According to Talmy (2010), the use of interview has been increased in applied linguistics. And this method is particularly useful for studies aim to investigate participant’s identities, in applied linguistic. It is particularly useful for studies that aim to investigate participant’s identities, experiences, beliefs, and orientations. Therefore, interview allows us to investigate complex ideas in this study, for instance, their experience as a linguistic minority in Hong Kong, Thai-Chinese identity and how they think about the relationship between language use and identity etc.

During the interviews, it is better to sound as natural as possible. This is because giving a feeling of an informal chat helps encouraging interviewers to tell us what they really think about. Therefore, we have adopted semi-structured interview. A list of questions was prepared in advance for asking the interviewees accordingly during the interview. At the same time, flexibility was allowed during the interviews. We asked follow-up questions and were open for interviewers to develop on our questions. We treated our question list as a guidance which offers topics for participants to talk about. By doing semi-structured interviews, we are able to have a more dynamic discussion with the interviews which can help generate richer and more interesting ideas. Moreover, this could also help creating a more relaxed atmosphere during the interviews, which echoes with our goals to make the interview like an informal chat. This helped us to collects the interviewers’ true thoughts by providing a casual environment and encouraged them to voice out their true beliefs.

Three face-to-face interviews with audio recording were done in total. In each family, we interviewed two generations, including the parent generation and the son-or-daughter generation. For sampling, we adopted the “Friend of a friend” or social network sampling (Bijeikienė & Tamošiūnaitė, 2013). This “Friend of a friend” principle is useful in research, in which researcher has to investigate a community that he or she is not familiar with. As all of us are Hong Kong local people, we are not familiar with the Thai-Chinese community in Hong Kong. However, by asking around in our social circles and through our friends’ social network, we were able to gather participants from this unfamiliar community. By taking the identity as “friend” also allowed us establishing a closer relationship with the interviewees in limited time. We were also more welcomed to interview them and investigate into their community.


Bijeikienė, V., & Tamošiūnaitė, A. (2013). Quantitative and qualitative research methods in sociolinguistics: study guide.

Talmy, S., & Richards, K. (2010). Theorizing qualitative research interviews in applied linguistics. Applied Linguistics, amq045.

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