What are interviews?

An interview is a conversation in which the interviewer questions the interviewee in order to gain information.  Interviews can be formal or informal, structured or unstructured.  They can be conducted one-to-one or in groups, face to face or by telephone, Skype, or email.

Why should I conduct interviews?

Interviews allow you to gather a wide range of open-ended, qualitative data.  They can provide information about people’s motivations, feelings, attitudes, and what they remember.

How do I conduct an interview?


The most important thing to do when planning an interview is to think about who you are interviewing, and what kind of information you want that person to give you.  You should compile a list of questions you plan to ask, and it is sometimes wise to send these questions to your interviewee in advance.  One of the strengths of the interview as a research method is that it can yield unexpected or open ended information, so it is important that your questions are not too rigid.  A list of questions used in the original T

Interviews: A Short Bibliography

Interviews: Methodology

Berg, B. (2001). Qualitative research methods for the social sciences, Allyn & Bacon.

Briggs, C. (1986). Learning how to ask: A sociolinguistic appraisal of the role of the interview in social science research, Cambridge University Press.

Foddy, W. (1994). Constructing questions for interviews and questionnaires: theory and practice in social research, Cambridge University Press.

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