Tables of Contents
1. Research Interview
2. Features of Research Interview
3. Types of Research Interview
a. Personal or face to face interview
-Advantages and Disadvantages
b. Telephone interview
– Advantages and Disadvantages
c. Computer-assisted interview (CAI)
– Different types of CAI
d. Focus Group Interview
e. Depth Interview
– Methods or Types of Observation
It is an important method of collecting primary data in research. It is a method where the interviewer and interviewee personally ask the questions and gives the answer. It is a medium of expressing internal interest, attitude and feelings. Research interview refers to those interviews that are taken to meet the research objectives but all interviews are not research interviews. ‘Researcher asks questions on the issue of his or her interest and records the answers of respondents in a paper or tape or videos in a research interview. The information collected in such a way provides valuable insights on the subject under study. Various experts have defined research interview, one of them is given below:
According to N.H. Gopal, “The interview is a conversation with a purpose and therefore is more than oral exchange of information.“
From the analysis of the above definition, the following are found:
- An interview is always purposive.
- It is face to face conversation.
- It is related to the area of research.
- It helps to understand the interest, attitude, behaviour and perception of people.
Features of research Interview
Research interview is always purposive and tries to collect the information within the scope/ area of research. Appropriate and effective interview only can collect the necessary information. Thus, a good research interview should possess the following features:
A researcher should not ask unnecessary questions. Questions asked to the interviewee should entail the objective of the research. Thus; the interview must be purposeful.
The researcher should provide adequate time to the interviewee so that he/ she can prepare for the interview and can provide appropriate and accurate information.
The interviewer should use appropriate words while asking the questions. The appropriateness of the words depends on the situation. The words used in the questions should not undervalue by the respondents.
4. Capacity of respondents:
The interviewer should consider the ability of the respondents while asking the questions. Wordings in the questions should be appropriate as per the capacity of the respondents.
The interviewer should not interrupt the respondents. The interviewer should listen carefully until the interviewee completes his deliberation. The interviewer should carefully listen and note the important points.
The interviewer should not give direction to the respondents but can put queries and motivate the respondents.
7. Knowledge of taking interview:
Taking interview is an art. Thus, the interviewer shall have the art and knowledge of taking an interview.
Types of research Interview
Research interview differs as per the structure of the interview and objectives of the research. Generally, research interviews are classified on the basis of the relationship between interviewer and interviewee. The interview is classified as face to face interview, telephonic interview and computer-assisted interview. A personal or face to face interview is considered appropriate for the unstructured interview and telephonic interview and computer-assisted interview are appropriate for a structured interview. Descriptions of these two types of interviews are given below:
1. Personal or Face to Face Interview
An interview where the interviewer talks to the respondents or asks the questions to the respondents directly is known as a personal or face to face interview. The personal interview is taken in the. home of the respondents or place of employment or in any other suitable places. This method is more applied when data is collected by applying the survey method. In this method, the interviewer and respondents interact with each other so that the interviewer can obtain depth and reliable information. An interviewer can also collect information from non-verbal communication i.e. gestures and facial expressions. The researcher should consider the following points while using personal interview:
a. Whether the personal interview is an appropriate method for collecting data or not.
b. It is an expensive method. Thus, a researcher should consider the cost factor before applying it.
c. Researcher should consider the skill of the interviewer. If the interviewer is unskilled then the data collected from the personal interview may not be reliable and useable.
d. Researcher should consider to the time limit. This method requires more time to collect data.
e. Researcher should consider to the biasness of the surveyor. If the surveyor is biased, they can not collect appropriate and reliable data.
Advantages of Personal Interview
It is a widely used method of survey. Thus, the personal interview has a number of benefits. These benefits are given below:
a. Possibility of the clear answer:
The researcher/ surveyor can put questions until a clear answer to the question is obtained or the doubt is not clear. Thus, there is a possibility of obtaining a clear answer.
b. Get information for non-communicating means:
Researchers can watch the gestures and facial expressions of the respondents. He/she can collect some information from such non-verbal cues. Thus, researchers sometimes can collect more information from gestures than spelled words.
c. Get detailed information:
The researcher puts sub-questions to clarify the answers of the respondents. It helps to collect the information from such follow-up questions. Thus, a researcher can collect detailed information.
d. Know the attitude of respondents:
A researcher can understand the attitude of respondents towards the event or research issue. Respondents may have positive or negative attitudes. Such an attitude reduces the reliability of data. Thus, the researcher knows the attitude and decides whether to use such data for further study or not.
Disadvantages of Personal Interview
Following are the disadvantages of a personal interview:
a. More respondents:
Where more respondents are to be taken for the collection of data, the personal interview method will be more costly and time-consuming. Thus, it remains impractical.
A researcher should give training to the surveyor to reduce biasness which is very expensive. Thus, every researcher cannot adopt this method.
c. Chances of obtaining inaccurate information:
Respondents do not like to give interviews to unknown persons. Even if they are ready, they do not provide real information. Thus, the data collected by the researcher may not be correct.
2. Telephone Interview
When a researcher takes the interview from the widely spread respondents using the telephone, such an interview is known as a telephone interview. This technique of the interview is widely accepted and adopted by the researcher nowadays because of the wide distribution of telephone services. A structured questionnaire is used in this method. This method of interview is suitable when many respondents are to be interviewed over a wide geographical area and the time available for an interview is very short. A researcher should take care of using the words because the questions are asked orally to the respondents.
Advantages of Telephone Interview
The chief merits or advantages of telephone interview are given below:
It is a flexible method because the scope of interviews can be increased or decreased. Telephone facility is widely used nowadays.
The researcher first finds out the related person and their telephone number. The researcher can contact them in no time and with less labour.
Respondents can spell/ tell any information that may be difficult to spell in a personal interview. Thus, the information provided by the respondent will be more reliable.
It is cheaper than a personal interview because the researcher can meet the respondents with the help of the telephone. The cost of the telephone is very low.
e. Higher rate Of response:
The response rate will be obviously higher than the response rate in the mailing method. The non-response rate is normally low.
Disadvantages of Telephone Interview
The chief demerits or disadvantages of telephone interview are given below:
a. Chances of incomplete information:
A researcher can conclude the interview without providing pre-notice. Thus, there is a chance of incomplete information.
b. No chances of non-verbal communication:
The researcher can understand many things from gesture and non-verbal cues but in this method that is not possible.
c. Limited respondents:
The researcher can not contact those who do not have telephone facilities. Thus, most of the respondents are out of the scope of the research. so, the reliability of the answer is questionable.
d. Not suitable to the comprehensive survey:
The comprehensive answer requires various questions, But more questions using the telephone is not appropriate.
Chances of biasness of the interviewer is high because they put biased questions to the respondent so as to develop research results as intended.
3. Computer-assisted interview (CAI)
An interview that is conducted using a computer especially a laptop rather than using a paper questionnaire is known as a computer-assisted interview. CAI stands for Computer-Assisted-interviewing, which refers to the way in which computers can be used in the development and administration of survey questionnaires. It has also been known as Computer-Assisted Survey Information Collection (CASIC). Rather than using a paper questionnaire, interviewers carry laptops from which questions are read out and responses to the survey questions are entered. The data is then transmitted back to the field centre via modem. CAI was first used in the UK in 1990 on the Labour Force Survey, and by 1995, all of the social surveys carried out by the Office for National Statistics used this method. It is thought to be one of the most influential developments in survey data collection. One of the most commonly used software programmes for this is Blaise, which was developed by Statistics Netherlands (although this is by no means the only one of its kind).
Different types of CAI
There are different types of Computer-Assisted-Interviewing, each of them is used for the various modes of survey data collection. They are described in more detail below:
a. CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing):
It is used when administering a questionnaire face-to-face. The interviewer reads questions from the screen (which the respondent cannot usually see) and responses are typed into designated fields.
b. CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing):
It is a similar setup to CAPI and is used in telephone interviews.
c. CASI (Computer Assisted Self Interviewing):
It is used particularly when questions are of a sensitive nature, such as crime and offending or sexual behaviour and attitudes. Respondents are given the laptop and are able to enter their responses themselves. It is thought to increase the validity of responses, as respondents are more likely to give truthful answers (whilst the interviewer cannot see what they are doing).
This interview pays attention to the experience of the informants and its possible effects. The purpose of this interview is to focus on a certain issue and collect maximum information from the group .of respondents so that researcher can reach certain concrete conclusions. Generally, an interview is taken with a small group of 6 to 8 people.
5. Depth interview
It deliberately aims to elicit unconscious as well as other types of materials relating especially to personality dynanücs and motivations. Ordinary conversation is the most common form of inforrnaüon collection. The in-depth interview extends and formalizes everyday conversation. This type of data collection is different from the structured or standardized interview, where the respondent receives questions with fixed response categories. The in-depth interview is discursive and allows the researcher and respondent’s latitude to explore an issue within the framework of guided conversation.
A method of collecting data where the researcher observes, analyses and interprets the events or works personally is known as observation. The researcher does not ask the questions but observes the events and keeps a record of important informaüon and facts. Besides, collecting data visually, observation involves listening, reading, smelling and touching. It provides insightful information about any product, subject or event which helps to understand those products, subject and events.
It is also an important method of data collection in the field of social science. It removes the difficulties of interview and helps to obtain a lot of information. This method is used in every scientific method. This method is particularly suitable in studies that deal with those people who are not capable of giving verbal reports or their feelings due to any reasons.
Methods or Types of Observation
1.Structured and unstructured observation:
It can be structured and unstructured. When observation is made by characterizing the style of recording the observed information, standardized conditions of observation, the definition of the units to be observed and selection of pertinent data of observation then it is structured observation. When observation is done without any thought before observation then it is known as unstructured observation.
2. Participative and non-participative observation:
when the observer becomes a member of the group and observéd the activities of that group then it is participative observation. In participative observation, the researcher can record the natural behaviour of the group and verify the truth of the statement given by informants in the context of the questionnaire.
When an observer is observing people without giving information to them then it is known as non-participant observation. In such observation, the researcher watches the activities of the people without involving in their activities. For example; watching consumers’ buying behaviour sitting outside the shop.
3. Controlled and uncontrolled observation:
When the observation takes place according to a definite pre-arranged plan and with experimental procedures then it is known as controlled observation. In this method, the observer develops the plan for observing the behaviour and undertakes the observation work. Generally, it is done in laboratories.
When observation takes place in natural condition then that is considered as uncontrolled observation. It is done to get a spontaneous picture of life and persons.