The Interview Method of Collecting Data

The Interview Method of Collecting Data

Interviews, telephonic or personal, are used to collect data from a group of people on various topics. In this article, we learn about the interview method.

The fundamental purpose of an interview as a method of data collection as verbal responses is to gather information thoroughly. The interview’s goals could include exchanging ideas and experiences, extracting data on a wide range of topics, and allowing the interviewee to reflect on his past, define his present, and consider his future options. Various types of interviews are conducted to obtain research data. An interview can be structured or unstructured, depending on whether a formal questionnaire was developed and the questions were asked in a predetermined order.

The method of collecting data in terms of verbal responses

The fundamental purpose of an interview as a data collection is the method that is best suited for evaluating human attributes. 

It has clear implications for the identification and treatment of emotional issues. 

It is one of the most important pillars on which counselling methods are built. 

It gives data to supplement other data collection methods. 

It can check the information collected through correspondence methods and observation.

Types of interviews

An interview can be classified as direct or indirect depending on whether the goal of the questions asked is expressed clearly or disguised. When these two criteria are combined, four different types of interviews emerge. A structured and direct interview, for example, can be structured and direct, unstructured and direct, structured and indirect, or unstructured and indirect, semi-structured. 

Type-I and type-II are objective types, but types-III and type-IV are subjective.

Structured Direct Interview: A formal questionnaire with non-disguised questions, a questionnaire that attempts to “get the facts” is the most common type of interview used to acquire descriptive information during a consumer survey. If the marketing search manager for a television set manufacturer wants to discover how many and what types of people favour different models of television cabinets, he can construct a series of questions that specifically inquire about this information. 

Unstructured Direct Interview: In an unstructured-direct interview, the interviewer is merely given general direction on the type of information that is desired. He is free to ask the appropriate direct questions to obtain this information, as well as to conduct and organise each interview as he sees fit. In exploratory research, unstructured-direct interviews are frequently used. Many research projects that use a formal questionnaire to conduct final interviews include an exploratory phase during which respondents are contacted, and unstructured interviews are done. 

Structured indirect interview: In a structured indirect interview, the questions are predetermined and organised systematically. The study’s goal has yet to be determined.

Unstructured-indirect interview: In an unstructured indirect interview, the questions aren’t predetermined, and the study’s objective isn’t made clear.

Semi-structured interviews: In research initiatives, semi-structured interviews are frequently used to verify data obtained from other sources. Semi-structured interviews allow for probing and explanation of replies, but they normally require participants to answer a list of preset questions. Semi-structured interviews were employed to investigate and clarify participants’ responses to this study. These helped participants return to the interview’s main topic. Probes for elaboration and clarity were crucial. As a result, it’s the best instrument for this research.

Telephonic Interview: A telephonic interview is a data collection method in which the interviewer speaks with the respondent over the phone using the questionnaire that has been created. Standardised questionnaires with closed-ended questions are usually used. The motive of a telephonic interview is to be brief and focuses on gathering specific information.

Personal interview: In a personal or face-to-face interview, all respondents are asked similar questions in the same order using a standard structured questionnaire as per the scheduled interview. A personal interview is a two-way conversation. In this way, the interviewer and the respondent understand the skills of a person, and the respondent understands the company’s requirements and the work structure. This standard structure is determined by the questions, language, and order, and the interview is conducted face-to-face.


  • Structured interviews concentrate on the accuracy of various responses, allowing for the collection of well-ordered data. 
  • Different respondents provide different responses to the same set of questions, and the results can be studied as a whole.
  • They can be utilised to contact a significant portion of the target audience.
  • The standardisation provided by structured interviews simplifies the interview process.
  • Semi-structured interview questions are provided before the scheduled interview, giving the researcher time to prepare and examine the questions.
  • It is somewhat adaptable yet adheres to the research requirements.
  • Because unstructured interviews are informal, it is quite easy for researchers to establish a cordial connection with the participants. This allows you to acquire extremely detailed insights without exerting much effort.
  • Participants can clear up any issues they have regarding the questions, and the researcher can use every chance to explain why they want better answers.
  • If there is doubt on both sides or a particular piece of information is discovered that is noteworthy, more detailed answers can be acquired.
  • During the interview, the researcher can observe and analyse the interviewee’s body language while taking notes.


  • The breadth of the evaluation of the obtained results is limited.
  • The importance of accuracy trumps the importance of detail in information.
  • Respondents are compelled to choose from a set of possibilities.
  • When the guidelines for conducting interviews are not strictly followed, comparing two distinct responses becomes challenging. Because no two questions would have the same structure, it will be impossible to compare or deduce outcomes.
  • Researchers take their time conducting these interviews because there is no organisation to the process.
  • Unstructured interviews’ trustworthiness is questioned due to the lack of a standardised set of questions and rules.
  • There are chances that they will take a long time and cost a lot of money.
  • They may cause suspicion in the interviewee since they are self-conscious and do not answer truthfully.


Finally, choose which interview method to use to establish what the research project’s specific goals are and how those needs may be effectively satisfied within cost limits. As a result, there are various factors to consider while determining which form of interview method to employ. However, determining what type of data is required and how generalisable the data must be is a critical step in deciding which interview approach to use. Research strategies that allow the researcher to interview many people have the advantage of enabling the researcher to make solid statistical judgments about the population under investigation, assuming enough interviews are conducted.