1The motivation for the present book comes from practical experience of the
needs of postgraduate research students and others doing research in 'realworld' contexts who need to identify interviewing methods appropriate to
their topic. There is more than one way of carrying out an interview, some
more costly in terms of time and resources; and all of them more so than the
universally popular questionnaire. In the main, interviews and questionnaires
serve different purposes: to carry out a large-scale or preliminary survey you use
questionnaires; to achieve a depth of understanding, you use an appropriate
form of interview.Interviews are inherently more flexible, whatever the level of structure,
ranging as they do from 'listening in' and asking questions in a real-life setting
to the standardized recording schedules used by market researchers. Questionnaires are difficult to do well and easy to do badly (Gillham 2000a: 1). In
the latter case the data are worthless, and in the former they tend to be superficial but can point to further 'in-depth' research. Only limited inferences
can be made because you cannot explore what lies behind the answers to the
questions.How is an interview to be defined? Not all of the variety of interviews
described in this book meet all of the following criteria, but these are the
|1. ||Questions asked, or topics raised, are 'open' with the interviewee
determining their own answers. This is a key distinction from questionnaires where normally the researcher not only asks the questions
but provides the answers in some sort of choice format, for example,
ranking preferences in order, circling one item on a 'very satisfactory'
to 'very unsatisfactory' scale, and so on.|
|2. ||The relationship between interviewer and interviewee is responsive
or interactive, allowing for a degree of 'adjustment': clarification,|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Research Interviewing: The Range of Techniques.
Contributors: Bill Gillham - Author.
Publisher: Open University Press.
Place of publication: Maidenhead, England.
Publication year: 2005.
Page number: 3.
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