Interview Method of Statistical Data Collection - Statswork

Interview Data Collection


Types of Interviews

Maree (2007) uses three types of interviews, namely:

  • Unstructured or open-ended interviews
  • Semi-structured interviews
  • Structured interviews

Unstructured or open-ended interviews

This type of interview often takes the form of a conversation and is undertaken with the intention that the researcher explores, with the participant, his or her views, ideas, beliefs and attitudes about certain events or phenomena. An unstructured or open-ended interview is normally spread over a period of time and consists of a series of interviews. The focus is mainly on the participants’ own perceptions of the event or phenomenon being studied (Maree, 2007).

Structured interviews

In the structured interview, Maree (2007) advises that, questions be detailed and developed in advance. It is a method frequently used in multiple case studies or large sample groups to ensure consistency. Cohem, Manion and Morrison (2007) agree with Maree (2007) when they say that the structured interview is one in which the content and procedures are organized in advance. This is a case of teachers teaching reading in the Foundation Phase. The structured interview is therefore not suitable for this research study.

Semi-structured interviews

As far as Maree (2007) is concerned, semi-structured interviews are commonly used in research projects to corroborate data emerging from other data sources. They usually require the participants to answer a set of predetermined questions; semi-structured interviews do allow for the probing and clarification of answers. Cohem, Manion and Morrison (2007) say that probes enable the interviewer to ask respondents to extend, elaborate, add to, provide detail for, clarify or qualify their response, thereby addressing richness, depth of response, comprehensiveness and honesty that are some of the hallmarks of successful interviewing. Maree (2007) further argues that, when researchers use semi-structured interviews, they need to be attentive to the responses of their participants so that they can identify new emerging lines of inquiry. For the context of this study, semi-structured interviews were used to, as Maree (2007) has mentioned, probe and clarify participants’ answers. This helped guide participants back to the focus of the interview. Elaboration and clarification probes were important. Making it the most ideal instrument for this study

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