Interviewing Individuals

Face to face interview

 

Telephone Interview


Strengths

  • Highest response rate
  • Ability to explore more complex issues
  • Questions can be clarified if necessary, and clarifying questions can be used with prompts
  • Does not require respondent to have literacy skills
  • Can provide rich data
  • Non-verbal data can be obtained through observations
  • Can produce a large amount of data to be analysed

Weaknesses

  • Difficulties with asking ‘personal’ or sensitive questions (one could include a ‘self completion’ section in the questionnaire to overcome this)
  • Can be intimidating for interviewee, particularly if they would prefer their responses to be anonymous
  • Difficulty in standardising the approach and interview for each respondent (especially if more than one interviewer is used)
  • Interviewer bias, where the characteristics of the interviewer may influence the nature of responses given (a woman interviewing a man about sexism could be an example here)
  • Can be expensive:
    • Travel costs; unlike postal or telephone surveys, the interviewer will usually have to travel to meet each new interviewee
    • Time cost; face to face interviews take longer to organise and complete, and this makes them more expensive
    • Payment of interviewers
 


Strengths

  • Low to medium cost, good response rate if prearranged at a suitable time – and ‘call-backs’ cheap
  • Questions can be clarified if necessary, and clarifying questions can be used
  • Does not require respondent to have literacy skills
  • Provides (some) anonymity
  • Good for people who have mobility or transport problems, or where the respondents are spread out over large geographical area

Weaknesses

  • Not appropriate for people with hearing or speech impairment, or people without telephone
  • Exploring complex or sensitive issues can be difficult

 

 


Surveys Interviewing groups