Interview method of Data Collection

The best research tool is the interview. Bearing in mind physical indicators, spontaneous emotions, and affective responses, they enable you to obtain rich information and reach more precise conclusions than other research approaches. Nevertheless, they may also consume a lot of effort and be quite difficult to execute well. There is an obvious danger to interviewer engagement levels from unintentionally probing questions, and smaller sample sizes can affect the reliability of the data.

The interview can take many different forms, from a casual discussion to a tightly controlled, closed interview format used in social survey research. In qualitative research, semi-structured or open-ended interviews are frequently employed. Instead of a list of standardized questions, they are frequently helped by an interview agenda, guidebook, or assistance memoire that comprises subjects, concepts, or concerns to be discussed during the interview. The goal for the interviewer is to stay adaptable and receptive during the interview so that the order of the questions may alter, their substance can develop, and the interviewer can go further into the opening statements to get more thorough or “in-depth” responses.

Interview defined by various thinkers

  • P.V. Young: A scientific method through which a person enters into the life of a stranger.”
  • Good & Hatt: “Interview a close face to face conversation or a dialogue between the investigator or interviewer and interviewee. OR It is a process of social interaction between interviewer and interviewee.”
  • Kerlinger: A face to face interpersonal situation in which one ask questions from the other to get answers about a social problem.”

Thus we may state that an interview is a verbal exchange or two-way dialogue between two people, such as the interviewer and the interviewee, to learn more about a difficult topic.

Characteristics of Interview method of Data Collection

Interviews have particular qualities that set them apart from other mediums of expression. The  five main aspects of interviews are:

  • goal-driven, 
  • Question-answer,
  • organized, 
  • Controlled, and 
  • Imbalanced.
  1. Goal driven: Compared to other forms of interaction, especially those that involve two individuals, interviews are typically more goal-driven. All forms of communication result in inventions and successes that go beyond the straightforward interchange of symbols, albeit these outcomes are not necessarily intentional. Interviews are conducted with a certain objective in mind. There might be a need for knowledge, an issue that needs to be remedied, encouragement, help with a personal issue, or both a business looking for the best candidate for a job opportunity and a potential employee looking for a suitable employer.
  2. Question-answer: The question-and-answer format of interviews is another distinguishing feature. Most of the time during an interview, one person (or perhaps more than one) will ask questions, and another person will respond. Although not to the level of an interview, everyday conversation occasionally involves questions and responses, particularly when individuals are trying to get to know each other. Moreover, it is not often the case in most common conversations that one person is in charge of presenting the queries and the other is in charge of responding.
  3. Organized: In comparison to other forms of interaction, interviews frequently have more “structure”. Interviews need planning and also frequently follow a distinct pattern, in contrast to informal interactions between two individuals, which might occur haphazardly and without a clear goal. To accomplish the previously described strictly delineated aim, specific behaviours are anticipated during an interview.
  4. Controlled: The person conducting the interview is often in charge of steering it in the direction of its objective. This objective, which is partially met by the statements made as well as the setup of the communication context, determines how much “control” is exercised during an interview.
  5. Imbalanced: The total time taken by the interviewee and the interviewer is typically not proportional, which is the last feature of interviews. Normally, the interviewee speaks for 70% of the discussion and the interviewer for 30% of the discussion. The sort of question will determine precisely how much time is spent discussing each side, but most of the time, the interviewee will speak more and the interviewer will speak little.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Interview method of Data Collection


  1. Personal interviews typically provide a high proportion of returns, particularly when compared to surveys.
  2. Since virtually everyone can be approached and responded to, the interview method may be used to provide an almost ideal sample size for a given population. And like questionnaires, interviews are not focused on literate people.
  3. Derived from the information obtained through other methods, information obtained through interviews is probably more accurate. By clarifying the topics to the source, the on-site interviewer may explain any incorrect or unimportant responses.
  4. Additional details about the informant’s personality and surroundings may be gathered during the interview, and this information is frequently very helpful in understanding the findings.
  5. The interview is a preferable method for examining topics in which there is little foundation for understanding what types of questions and how to structure them because of its flexibility.
  6. The interviewer can serve as the investigator and employ grading and trial. Visual inputs that the informant could respond to can be given concurrently.
  7. When compared to other approaches, the interview method provides a higher percentage of useful results. Usually, it is possible to make follow-up visits without upsetting the informant to finish tasks on the timetable or fix errors.
  8. If the interviewer catches the informant off guard, they may get more candid answers than they would have gotten from a sent assessment.


  1. The interview strategy places a significant burden on money, effort, and time. The interview approach may be unprofitable and frequently impossible due to the expense of travelling, the time needed to visit all the locations in a big region, and the potential that someone may not be available or “not at home.”
  2. The effectiveness of interviews depends on the competence and comprehensive training of interviewers, as well as on their strict oversight of them. In the absence of this, data collected could be unreliable and inadequate.
  3. The returns could be distorted by the human equation. A biased interviewer may unintentionally create questions to get answers that support his beliefs.
  4. The interviewer’s immediate appearance may overexcite the participant, possibly even to the point where he may supply fictitious data to make the interview more fascinating. He could provide information about which he is unsure.