Types of interview
– Interviewing is a meeting of two persons to
exchange information and ideas through
questions and responses, resulting in
communication and joint construction of meaning
about a particular topic.
Janesick (2004): 72
• Find someone you know to interview on the
– What are your beliefs about friendship?
• The interview should last approximately 15
Interviewing: procedures (1)
• Establishing relationships
– The key is ensuring the person you are
interviewing is at ease. How do you do that?
Tell them what you are doing and why
Ask for permission to use a tape recorder/take notes
Ensure confidentiality …
Be sensitive to body language and tone of voice
Ask non-threatening questions first
Types of interview
• Interviews range from:
Interviewing: procedures (2)
• Use a schedule which specifies the topics or
themes to be covered
– For structured interviews this lists the questions to
– For unstructured interviews it reminds you which
topics/issues to cover (these might not occur in
the same order in the interview).
• Structured Interviews have explicit research
• Are similar to a verbal approximation of a
• Allow for easy comparison between
• Responses are shaped by the researcher
• Unstructured Interviews have an implicit research agenda
• Are similar to ‘steered conversations’ or ‘conversations with a
• Questions emerge typically from the conversation
• Skill is in finding the most appropriate time to ask questions
Choosing which type of interview to use depends on the
nature of the research and who you are interviewing.
Interviews can move from being structured at the beginning
to more unstructured at the end
Types of Interview Questions (1)
• Degree of focus
– ‘grand-tour questions:
• Could you show me around the building?’
• ‘What are the general purposes of this room?’
These enable a broad picture to be obtained
– Specific questions:
• ‘Please tell me more about …’
These help to find out more specific information
Types of Interview Questions (2)
• Degree of open-endedness
• ‘How do you feel about …’
Used to discover participant’s perception of the situation.
Allows participants to interpret questions their own way.
Allows new questions to be generated.
– Closed questions
• ‘Do you agree with the idea that …’
Restricts participant’s response. Useful to confirm findings
Types of Interview Questions (3)
• Types of information
• Could you tell me what happened that evening?
• ‘What factors do you think are involved in …?’
• ‘In what way has the course improved since last year?’
• ‘You talk about how objects represent people. Can you clarify for
me what you mean?’
• ‘You mentioned organising space in the room. Can you tell me how
you do this to help the residents?’