When conducting research in consumer and family science, one of the main steps is collecting data. It plays a vital role and includes data from published material, by carrying out experiential research, or by simply doing vigilant surveillance.Nevertheless, information can also be acquired by chatting with people who possess the facts you need. At times you basically want to hear their opinions and experiences. One basic method of collecting information is caring out an interview; the first step is selecting the interviewee, and secondly is to know what type of information you need.Interviews are mostly useful when the interviewer wants to get the participant's views and opinions base on his/her experiences. The interviewer can ask relevant questions pertaining to a given topic or issue to increase his/her understanding of the topic at hand.Interviews are also frequently conducted (on specific respondents who have already taken questionnaires), as a follow-up technique in order to further scrutinize their feedback and get more accurate information.Generally most questions asked are open ended in order to encourage a clear response based on the respondent's personal experience .e.g. what's your opinion of the three candidates in this year's election?Prior to planning the interview procedures and questions, the interviewer must take time to understand the problem intended to be addressed after data is collected from the interviews. This enables the interviewer to gain focus on the purpose of every question to be asked.Preparing and Designing the Interview.Select a location with minimal interruption. The surroundings should be away from noises, make certain the respondent is at ease (you may inquire if he/she is), etc. Usually, the interviewee may perhaps feel more comfortable at their places of residence or at their work place.Give the respondent an overview of the intention of the interview.
Make the respondent aware of the conditions of confidentiality. This generally involve none disclosure agreements and provisions. (It's very important not to guarantee or make promises because in some cases courts of law or Law enforcement agencies may gain access to data gathered from interviews, depending on prevailing conditions.)Make the respondent aware of people who might see their answers and the process which will be used to evaluate their responses. In cases where the interviewer intends to use the respondent's remarks as quotes, then it's vital to get their permission on paper. It enables the interviewee to understand how any information linked with him/her will be reported.Give details on layout of the interview. The interviewer should clarify the kind of interview he will be undertaking. In case the respondent wishes to raise any questions, the interviewer should stipulate if the respondents are to wait till the interview ends or ask at any point during the interview.Specify the time duration of the interview.Inform the respondents how to contact you afterwards if they wish to.Enquire if anyone has any questions or comments before beginning the interview process.Do not memorize the respondent's answers. Request for their consent to record their responses or ensure there's someone to write notes to ensure you don't forget anything.Categories of InterviewsCasual interviews -the interviewer does not use any prearranged questions, so as to remain informal and flexible to the respondent's nature and personality; throughout the process, the interviewer asks questions freely without any guidelines.Broad interview guide technique - this method is intended to guarantee that similar information is collect gathered from every respondent; this enables more focus as compared to the conversational technique, but still allows a level of free will and flexibility in gathering information from the respondent.Uniform, open ended approach - in this case, all interviewees are asked similar open ended questions ( open ended refers to questions where interviewees have freedom to select how to reply the interviewer i.e., respondents don't pick "no" or "yes" or give a numeric ranking.) this method enables comparison between interviews and makes the interviews process faster.
Closed ended interview approach - in this case all respondents are asked similar questions and given the option of selecting answers from a set of choices. Such kind of a layout is helpful for individuals who have are not proficient in interviewing.Types Questions which can be used.Usually there are five types of questions. The interviewer can ask questions regarding:Ø Information - to get knowledge concerning the issue at hand.Ø Sensory: involves what a person has seen or heard.Ø Standard background questions -such as age of the respondent, marital status, education, contacts, etc.Order of Asking the QuestionsThe interviewer should try and get the respondents drawn into the interview without beating around the bush.Prior to asking about controversial issues (e.g. views and feelings), enquire on some basic details. With this method, interviewees can more easily fit into place in the interview before giving opinions on private matters.Combine factual questions during the interview. The interviewer should keep away from lengthy lists of factual questions, because the respondents feel detached.Questions relating to present matters should be asked before questions concerning past or upcoming events. It's generally easier for respondents to speak about current issues and then converse about past events.The final questions usually let respondents give any additional information which they wish to include and their opinions, comments and views about the whole interview process.Phrasing the QuestionsØ Interviewer ought to ask open ended questions. Therefore enabling respondents to be capable to select their own wording when answering.Ø Neutrality of questions asked should be upheld. Wording that directs the respondent's answers or influence his reply ought to be avoided, such as suggestive, condemnatory wording.Ø The interviewer should ask questions one by one.Ø Questions should be worded clearly. This includes knowing any terms particular to the program or the respondents' culture.Ø Care should be taken when asking "why". Question of this sort assume [cause and effect link] which might not really exist. They might possibly also make interviewees to feel protective of their responses, for example, each answer they give must be justified; this can make them hold back their answers.Process of Conducting the InterviewVerifying that the recorder being used is in good condition is recommended.Ask the questions each at a time and give the respondent adequate time to answer. Keeping the questions neutral is advisable. This is can be done by; not showing strong expressive reactions to the answers Encourage the respondent with nods occasionally.When note taking its important to act professional. If you hurry to write down comments, it may seem like you're astonished or delighted with the response, which can manipulate future answers. Shift between main topics should be done smoothly, for example, "we have been discussing about...and now before we finish up we would like to discuss ..."Its important to always maintain the flow of the interview. This can be done by ensuring respondents do not deviate to a different topic or take a long period of time to answer a question such that the interview duration begins to run out, and also avoiding cases where the respondents start asking the interviewer questions instead of the other way round.Right away After the InterviewCheck that the recorder captured everything all through the interview process. Make additional notes in a notebook, for example, to explain any scratching on the tape recorder, all written pages should be numbered to avoid confusion, cancel notes which do not give a relevant meaning etc.Observations made during the interview should be noted .e.g. the place where the interview took place and the time, behavior of the respondent ought to be noted e.g. were they mostly nervous during the duration of interview?