Types of interview
Depending on the degree of structuring, the availability of a pre-compiled program, and the degree to which you must adhere, interviews can differ from completely free, non-structured conversations that resemble free communication on a wide range of topics, until well-planned interviews with hard a given sequence of questions, and even possible answers to them (here an extreme case are written surveys).
In the domestic tradition, it is customary to formulate the differences between different types of interviews in terms of strategy and tactics of conversation, which can initially be given more or less rigidly.
The interview strategy is the most general plan of the conversation, general ideas about what topics should be discussed, in which order it is better to move forward when discussing them, etc. The strategy is set by the goals and objectives of the interview.
The tactics of the interview are the concrete implementation of this general plan: which questions and in what sequence will be asked, how many questions are assigned to each topic, what questions should be asked in case of any answers of the respondent to previous questions, etc. A higher degree of standardization of the conversation presupposes a more stringent tactic of its conduct.
So, but the degree of standardization is divided into three main types of conversation: standardized, partially standardized and free. Each of these types has its advantages and disadvantages.
A standardized conversation (structured interview) implies a clearly defined strategy and tactics. The whole range of topics is planned in advance, which should be discussed, selected and formulated questions that will be asked, their sequence will be rigidly assigned. A structured interview is a survey conducted with direct contact with the respondent: all questions are formulated and printed in a certain sequence, in which the answers are supposed to be received; the interviewer only reads out the questions and fixes the answers of the respondent.
The advantages of a fully standardized conversation are, first of all, a shorter time (due to the fact that the initiative is entirely in the hands of the interviewer and the respondent has less opportunity to switch to other topics), and also that the results of such interviews (for account for the monotony of the conduct) are easier to process, and the answers of different people are easier to compare. In addition, conducting structured interviews places fewer demands on the skills of the person conducting it, because in the process of interaction it is not necessary to make decisions about the need for restructuring the conversation, changing topics, etc. The interviewer's tasks are only to pronounce the questions in the right sequence and receive answers to them.
Disadvantages of this type of interview are primarily that the initiative is entirely on the side of the interviewer. This way of talking can cause the respondent to have unpleasant associations with the exam procedure, which will reduce frankness and willingness to cooperate with the interviewer. Presence of a pre-defined list
questions can lead to the fact that some important topics will not be discussed, because the relevant issues were not planned in the program.
Fully structured interviews are mainly used for large sample surveys. All questions and their sequence are developed in advance, and therefore such interviews can be carried out and in writing without direct contact of the interviewer with the respondent.
Free conversation (unstructured interview) is a way of building, in which the strategy is set out in general terms and can be changed during the conduct, and the tactic is completely free. Thus, the researcher initially presents which list of topics should be discussed, and may have some planned questions, but basically the sequence of questions and their content are determined during the conversation. In addition, additional topics may be raised in the discussion. This type of interview is more focused on the respondent, is more subordinate to his initiative to discuss certain topics. In fact, it is the respondent that is thematically leads this interview.
Unstructured interview in terms of choosing topics and switching between them resembles the usual conversation, but it differs from all the above parameters.
Such an interview is often structured in such a way that the interviewer asks the first question in order to direct the respondent's reasoning on the desired topic (for example, asks to recall and give an example of an event), and then formulates all subsequent questions based on what exactly answered the respondent.
The advantage of this method is the opportunity to more deeply discuss the subject matter under study. A well-trained interviewer can, using this type of conversation, get much more information than in a structured interview. The respondent feels more natural, which positively affects his openness and sincerity. As a result of this interview, there is a higher probability of receiving spontaneous, unexpected answers that may go beyond what could have been predicted in the planning of the study.
However, the shortcomings of unstructured interviews are difficulties in comparing the answers of different respondents (since all respondents are asked their own sets of questions, which determines the specifics of the information being examined). A non-structured interview is characterized by a higher duration and poor predictability of its flow (for example, a respondent can very long argue on topics that are not directly interested in the interviewer, and important information can be expressed very briefly at the end). In addition, unstructured interviews place high demands on the skill of the interviewer: he should, while listening to the answers and analyzing the respondent's behavior, think through the further course of the interview in terms of the choice of topics, the formulation of questions, etc.
A partially standardized conversation (semi-structured interview) is a compromise between the two types described above and is used most often in practice. In this case, the interview strategy is clearly thought out, but tactics can change in the process. Usually here the interviewer has prepared questions and developed their sequence, however, if necessary, additional questions can be asked, the planned questions can be reformulated, and a sequence of discussion of the assigned topics can be changed.
This method combines the advantages of structured and unstructured interviews: it is convenient from the point of view of processing results and comparing the answers of different people, while the procedure for doing it is quite flexible and more acceptable both for the interviewer and for the respondent.
Types of interviews can be distinguished for other reasons. So, depending on its place in the overall research structure, the interview can be preliminary, or intelligence (when it is carried out for primary orientation in the studied problems and obtaining preliminary information), basic (which is a direct collection of information in accordance with the research objectives) and control strong> (conducted to monitor the data received at the main stage).
The way to organize can be divided into individual and group interviews. Most often, interviews are conducted in an individual format, in the form of a dialogue between the researcher and the respondent. However, there are cases when an interview is held simultaneously with several respondents (for example, studies with the help of focus groups, when several respondents simultaneously speak on the given topics). Simultaneous conversation with several respondents can be productive from the point of view of the information received, since in the process of such communication, details may be revealed that would not appear in the usual dialogue, but place higher demands on the researcher who conducts them, and also become more difficult to process .
In addition, interviews can be one-time (when only one meeting with the respondent is supposed) and recurring or multiple (when it means several meetings with each respondent). Multiple interviews are used when the range of topics to be discussed is very large, and discussion of it within the framework of one meeting can not be realized. Also, repeated interviews can be conducted to monitor the information received from the respondent at earlier stages.
Depending on the general purpose of the conversation, you can select types such as Research and Diagnostic. In the first The case is held for empirical information gathering, which will promote the advancement of scientific knowledge. In the second case, the purpose of the conversation is to obtain (or expand) the psychodiagnostic information: the detailed identification of the psychological characteristics of this particular person, and the information obtained in the future can be used for psychotherapeutic or psychocorrectional work, for the purpose of career guidance or the like.
Depending on the content, you can highlight retrospective , introspective and projective strong> conversations. In a retrospective conversation, we are talking about the events of the past, their analysis and evaluation. In an introspective conversation, the opinions and assessments of people regarding current events or conditions are examined. In a projective discussion, hypothetically possible situations, possible behavior in them and the supposed attitude towards them are subject to discussion.
Separately, this type of conversation can be considered, such as clinical conversation , or in-depth interview , which is usually conducted in the psychodiagnostics or counseling and therapeutic work of a psychologist, and their goal is a comprehensive and in-depth study of the integrity of the individual respondent, his motives and goals, his individual characteristics, etc.
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