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CHAPTER NINE COLLECTING DATA II: INTERVIEWS
INTERVIEWS Types of Interview • Structured − essentially a questionnaire. • Semi-structured − some structure, opportunity to develop information. • Unstructured − no set format, interview ‘develops’ information.
Interviews are appropriate when • In depth/qualitative information is required. • Low sample size. • Variable information. • Research is exploratory. • Information changes over time. • Information is complex.
ADVANTAGES OF INTERVIEWS • Flexibility – especially with younger, less educated etc. • Trust. • More insightful. • Sense of time and history. • Develop useful information as it emerges. • Can change format if required.
DISADVANTAGES OF INTERVIEWS • Time (especially if travelling). • Cost. • Lack of anonymity. • Transcription time (1 hr interview may involve 5 hrs typing!). • Potential bias. • Informant may try to please interviewer. • Informant may hesitate to say anything that shows them negatively.
FOCUS GROUPS • Number of people (5− 12). • Facilitate discussion between people. • Subjects interact with each other. • Ensure it is not dominated by 1 or 2 people.
OBSERVATION Two general types: Participant observation Observer fully involved, takes part in what is being studied, e. g. mystery shopper. Non-participant observation No involvement at all, e. g. counting users of a facility.
ADVANTAGES OF OBSERVATION • ‘Directness’. • Takes place in a ‘natural’ setting. • Identifies features not apparent to subject. • Identifies features that subject may be unwilling to disclose.
DISADVANTAGES OF OBSERVATION • May misunderstand the phenomenon. • Poor data recording possible. • Effects of observer on subjects. You may need to sample: • Different times – ‘time sampling’. • Different observation points.