Interview method:

  • The interview method of collecting data involves presentation of oral-verbal stimuli and reply in terms of oral-verbal responses.
  • Types of interview methods are as follows:

  1. Personal interview
    • Personal interview method requires a person known as the interviewer asking questions generally in a face-to-face contact to the other person or persons. This sort of interview may be in the form of direct personal investigation or it may be indirect oral
    • In case of direct personal investigation the interviewer has to collect the information personally from the sources concerned. He has to be on the spot and has to meet people from whom data is to be collected. This method is particularly suitable for intensive investigations.
    • The method of collecting data through personal interview is usually carried out in a structured way. Such interviews are called structured interviews. They involve the use of a set of predetermined questions and of highly standardized methods of recording.
    • Structured interview follows a rigid procedure laid down, asking questions in a form and prescribed order. The unstructured interviews are more flexible in terms of questioning.
    • Unstructured interviews do not follow a system of pre-determined questions and standardized techniques of recording information.
    • Here, the interviewer is given freedom to ask supplementary questions or even omit any questions if the situation requires.
    • Analysis of unstructured interview becomes more difficult as it results in lack of comparability with other interviews
    • Unstructured interviews demand a lot of knowledge on the part of the interviewer. It is the central technique of collecting data in case of exploratory research studies.
    • But in descriptive studies we use structured interviews because it is more economical, provides safe basis for generalization and requires less skill on the part of the interviewer.
  2. Focused interview:

o   It is meant to focus on the given experience of the respondents and its effects.

o   The interviewer has the freedom to decide the sequence and manner in which the questions would be asked and also the freedom to explore reasons and motives.

o   Here, the main task of the interviewer is to confine the respondent to a discussion of issues with which he seeks conversance.

o   It is generally used in development if hypotheses and constitute a major type of unstructured interviews.

     3.  Non-directive interview:

o   The interviewer’s function is simply to encourage the respondent to talk about he given topic and ask bare minimum of direct questioning.

o   The interviewer often acts as a catalyst to a comprehensive expression of the respondents’ feelings and beliefs of the frame of reference within which such feelings and belief and of the frame of reference within which such feelings and beliefs take on personal significance.

  1. More information in depth can be obtained
  2. Interviewer by his own skill can overcome the resistance, if any, of the respondent.
  3. This method is very flexible as there is always an opportunity to restructure questions, especially in case of unstructured interviews.
  4. Observation method can also be applied to recording verbal answers to various questions.
  5. Personal information can be obtained easily under this method.
  6. Samples can be controlled more effectively as there is no difficulty of missing returns; Non-response generally remains very low.
  7. The interviewer can usually control which person(s) will answer the question.
  8. The language can be adapted to the ability or educational level of the person interviewed and misinterpretations concerning questions can be avoided.
  9. The interviewer can collect supplementary information about the respondent’s personal characteristics and environment which is often to great value in interpreting results.
  1. It is very expensive when large and widely spread geographical sample is taken.
  2. There remains the possibility of bias of interviewer as well as that of the respondent; there also remains the headache of supervision and control of the interviewer.
  3. Certain types of respondents such as important officials or executives or people in high income groups may not be easily approachable.
  4. This method is relatively more time-consuming, especially when sample is large.

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