A research interview is a conversation in which questions are asked in order to get information. The interviewer is usually a professional or paid researcher, sometimes trained who, in an alternating series of usually brief questions and answers, puts questions to the interviewee. They can be compared with surveys where an interviewer asks a group of individuals and observes the resulting conversation between interviewees, or surveys that are more anonymous and limit participants to a range of predefined choice of answer.
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Features of a Research Interview
An interview schedule refers to a list comprising of a collection of standardized queries that have been designed to serve as a reference for interviewees, researchers and researchers to gather information or data on a particular topic or problem. A research interview comprises of an interviewer who co-ordinates the discussion method and asks questions, and a respondent who addresses those questions;
- Interviews are finished by the interviewer depending on the answers or responses that the interviewee provides to be conformed to and performed.
- Interviews are a much more private research form than survey questions.
- The respondent works directly with the interviewer in their interview.
- Unlike mail surveys, the interviewer has the chance to ask follow-up questions or to probe them.
- Interviews are rendered much easier for the interviewee, particularly if opinions and/or observations are that which is being sought.
- Interviews are generally time-consuming and demanding on resources.
- The interviewer is supposed to be a part of the measuring instrument and needs to be well trained in responding to any contingency.
- Interviews include a chance for face-to-face interaction between two or more people which leads to reduced conflicts.
Types of Research Interviews
Research interviews are generally of four types:
Informal, Conversational interview
To remain as transparent and flexible as possible to the nature and preferences of the interviewee, no predetermined questions are asked; during the interview, the interviewer “goes with the flow.”
General interview guide approach
This type of interview is intended to ensure that each interviewee provides information on the same general information areas; this provides more focus than the conversational approach, but still allows for a degree of freedom and adaptability in getting the information from the interviewee.
Standardized, open-ended interview
In this type of interview, all interviewees are asked the same open-ended questions; this method enables faster interviews that can be analyzed and compared more easily.
Closed, fixed-response interview
This type of interview asks similar questions to all respondents and then asks them to choose from the same set of alternatives to provide the answers. This format is useful for those interviewers who are not practiced. This type of interview is also called a structured interview.
Stages of a Research Interview
- Thematization: it defines the topic of research and the purpose of the research.
- Designing: It refers to the plan that is developed for the study design.
- Interviewing: It the process of interviewing with the help of a guide.
- Transcription: It refers to the process of preparing the interview material for analysis.
- Analyzing: it refers to the process of deciding the objective, the subject matter, the proper nature and methods of assessment.
- Verifying: this is the stage where the researcher ascertains the validity of the findings of the interview.
- Reporting: this is the last stage where the reporting of the study findings takes place according to academic criteria.
Advantages of a Research Interview
Depth of Detail
Perhaps the biggest benefit of research interviewing is the interviewee’s profundity of detail. Interviewing participants will draw a picture of what happened in a particular event, tell about their expectations for such an event, and also offer other social indicators. Social indications such as the interviewee’s voice, intonation, body language, etc. can give the interviewer plenty of additional information that can be added to the interviewee’s verbal response on a query. This degree of detailed explanation, whether verbal or nonverbal, may display an otherwise hidden interrelationship between feelings, individuals, items, unlike many other research techniques.
In its particular form qualitative interviewing has a unique advantage. Researchers can tailor their questions to the respondent to get rich, complete stories and the information they need for their project. When they need more examples or explications, they can make it clear to the respondent.
Perceptions of People
Along with learning about specific events, researchers can also gain insight into the inner interactions of individuals, precisely on how people perceive and how they interpret their perceptions. They can talk about how events have affected their emotions and thoughts. In this, researchers can understand an event’s process rather than what has just happened and how they responded to it.
Another benefit of research interviewing includes what it can offer to people who read academic papers and journals. Researchers can write clearer reports for their readers, giving them a more comprehensive understanding of the respondents’ experiences and a higher chance of identifying, even if briefly, with the respondent.
Disadvantages of a Research Interview
Complications in Planning
The planning of the interview can present complications. Not only is it hard to get people for interviews because of the interview’s typically personal nature, to plan where to meet them and when can also prove to be difficult. At the last minute, the participants can cancel or change the meeting location.
One of the biggest weaknesses of the research interview is missing information that can happen during the actual interview. This may be due to the enormous multitasking that the interviewer has to do. They not only need to make the interviewee feel quite comfortable, but they also need to maintain as much eye contact as necessary, jot down as much as they can, and think about add-on questions.
The coding process begins after the interview and with that follows its very own collection of inconveniences. Coding generally takes an extraordinarily long time to do. Usually, this method requires numerous people, which can become costly too.