Interview is a research method in which information is interchanged between two or more individuals.
The Interview is many times used in the first steps of a research in order to collect information which can help to understand a research topic better.
The researcher can interview participants one by one or as a group. The Interview is done verbally and thus it can be done with physical appearance of the researcher and participant/s or through phone, or remotely e.g. through teleconference.
Types of Interview
There are three main types of Interview: Structured Interviews, Semi-Structured Interviews, and the Unstructured Interviews. They can be used together with other types of scientific methods of collecting data. It is considered a Qualitative type of research method. Usually, questionnaires are used that are communicated verbally to participants.
In Structured Interview, the sequence of the questions is predefined as well the way that the researcher will verbally communicate each question to each participant must be the same. That is, the body posture, as well the tone and timber of the voice of the researcher/s must be the same or similar for all participants. Usually, they have been predefined before the Interview takes part.
In the Structured Interview, the interaction of the Researcher with the participant is usually limited. No many questions or comments are allowed.
The results of a Structured Interview can be replicated by other researchers because the process that is followed in a Structured Interview is predefined and thus it can be easier replicated than in the case of a unstructured interview.
In the Semi-Structured Interview, there are predefined questions but the sequence of them can be changed, some questions can be omitted or new questions can be added during the process of the interview. The main aim is to better understand a specific topic and thus, the researcher can set new questions to the interviewer, only if this direction of the discussion can reveal new information about the predefined topic of research.
A Unstructured Interview promotes the open and free discussion but in the grounds of a predefined topic / research question. The main aim is to understand in depth a topic.