Characteristics of each interview according to Haller (2001)
- The answer may be refused without negative consequences.
- There is a fixed distribution of roles between the questioner and the answerer.
- The questioner follows an information goal, which he wants to find out through his questions.
- The answers of the interviewee are bound to the questions and can be of a factual as well as a private nature.
- There are different perceptions between the questioner and the answerer, as both individuals pursue different goals.1
The 3 journalistic interview types according to Haller (2001)
The first tool I would like to use to get more information about V-“Tubing in Austria” is the research interview.
In order to gain a realistic insight into the creation of a virtual Youtuber, I will use the research interview to talk to some players in the domestic industry. According to Haller (2001), interviews of this kind are primarily about obtaining information in the course of a research, as well as verifying it. Less decisive are personal characteristics and presentation of the person.2
In the case of my Master’s thesis, the interviewees will be Austrian vtubers, because I want to record the entire process of character creation of their virtual avatars. The objective is to analyse both the factual aspect and the personal relationship to the artificial figures and to prepare them step by step in order to make it easier for future designers, influencers or online streamers (to name just a few of the players in the vtuber environment) to enter the industry.
Furthermore, I am interested in the interviewees’ opinions on topics of self-perception on the internet, as well as their decision to remain anonymous, or the extent to which they do so. This leads me to the second type of interview according to Haller (2001), which I would like to include in my survey – the reportage interview.
Since VTubers are also artists in a certain way, I am particularly interested in the personal relationship to the virtual avatar. Self-expression is in the foreground and is not subject to any compulsion for information. Haller (2001) writes about directing the focus on personality traits of the interviewee and acting more as a moderator. This way of gathering information also gives an overall impression of the interviewee and the setting in which this person is thematically situated.3
I would like to do without the interview as a form of presentation in my Master’s thesis, as it does not seem useful for researching the topic and getting to know individual protagonists.
Relevant interview subjects and objectives of my master thesis will address the following topics:
Part 1 – About the person + practice
- Personal aspect of the interviewee on the topic (background, role models, access…)
- Role distribution of design, implementation and use of the concept of the own virtual character (visual and acoustic appearance, character creation, content of the performance)
- Background information on the creation process of the own virtual character (in case of self-creation of the avatar, otherwise further information on key persons)
- Common means and resources of domestic representatives for the creation of a 2D or 3D model
- Creative content of online performances and common platforms of live broadcasts
- Creation costs and turnover of an avatar for protagonists (designers, artists, performers)
Part 2 – intercultural perception
- Personal attitude to the topic of anonymity in real life and online (opinion on the advantages and disadvantages of using a virtual avatar online).
- Possible adaptation concepts in the already existing media landscape in Austria
- Self-perception of the own art figure in Austria
- Perception of the current Austrian Vtuber scene (popularity, effect on outsiders, efficiency, …)
- Hypotheses on reasons for the different popularity of European vtubers compared to performers abroad (Asia, Central America, …)
- Personal perception of animated content in the public media environment (television, social media, streaming, etc.)
- Prognosis of a possible future for vtubers in Austria/personal prognosis (increase in the relevance of virtual influencers)
- Hypotheses on future occupational fields and career opportunities in the design industry (The abandonment of character design for vtubers as a market niche)
As a further step, I plan to create a survey on the perception of Vtubers in Austria. This should happen at the same time as the debut of my own, self-created virtual character, in order to get a direct reaction from a larger audience.
I will create a Youtube video and analyse the perception of the performance for relevant aspects in the setting of a questionnaire online.
- 1 cf. Haller 2001, p. 129.
- 2 cf. ebda, p. 135f.
- 3 cf. ebda, p. 138f.
Creating a first interview draft
- Defining main research questions
- Structure master thesis
- search for literature
Haller, Michael (Hrsg.) et al.: Das Interview. Ein Handbuch für Journalisten. 3. ed. Konstanz: UVK 2001 (= Praktischer Journalismus, 6)