Interviews in Social Research: Advantages and Disadvantages

ReviseSociology

An interview involves an interviewer asking questions verbally to a respondent. Interviews involve a more direct interaction between the researcher and the respondent than questionnaires. Interviews can either be conducted face to face, via phone, video link or social media.

Types of interview, and key terms

Structured or formal interviews are those in which the interviewer asks the interviewee the same questions in the same way to different respondents. This will typically involve reading out questions from a pre-written and pre-coded structured questionnaire.

Unstructured or Informal interviews (also called discovery interviews) are more like a guided conversation. The interviewer has complete freedom to vary the questions from respondent to respondent, so they can follow whatever lines of enquiry they think are most appropriated, depending on the responses given by each respondent.

Semi-Structured interviews are those in which respondents have a list of questions, but they are free to ask further…

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