An interview is a fundamental tool that is used in survey research. Also known as oral questionnaires, interviews allow scientists to cooperate directly with the subjects of their studies. Even though conducting an interview seems an easy task, this activity is more challenging than just discussing a specific topic with people. Thus, the given paper will discuss the significant role of interviews in non-experimental research, present their advantages over other structured tools, and explain when it is more reasonable to use interviews.
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To begin with, one should state that the interview occupies an essential role in non-experimental research. It is so because this tool makes it possible for researchers to obtain information that might otherwise be challenging to identify, “including firsthand knowledge of people’s feelings and perceptions” (Salkind, 2011, p. 199). Furthermore, interviews allow researchers to cooperate with their sample directly, eliminating the possibility that some essential information will be lost.
Numerous advantages of the interviews explain why this tool is so significant in research. Firstly, this tool allows scientists to judge respondents’ non-verbal behavior, which is necessary to evaluate their credibility and trustworthiness. Secondly, this type of conducting research is suitable to obtain information from people who cannot read and write (Sociology Group, 2019). Some scientific works focus on this part of the population, and interviews are the most useful way to obtain feedback from such individuals. Thirdly, the tool under consideration provides researchers with higher flexibility that allows them to pursue any direction within the project (Salkind, 2011). The final advantage of interviews over the other structured tools is that scientists “can set the general tone and agenda” at their own convenience (Salkind, 2011, p. 199).
In addition to that, it is rational to state that the advantages above can manifest themselves if particular conditions are present. Firstly, it usually takes sufficient time to conduct candid interviews (Salkind, 2011). Consequently, this tool is suitable in those cases when there are no strict temporal constraints. Secondly, it is more reasonable to rely on interviews when there is no opportunity that the absence of anonymity can prevent respondents from telling the truth (Salkind, 2011). For example, it is better to use anonymous questionnaires to research such issues as drug abuse, domestic violence, and others. Thirdly, the tool under consideration is better when research questions imply long answers, and when participants may need additional explanation to answer the questions. Finally, one should emphasize that the results of interviews can be inadequate if researchers are subject to any bias (Salkind, 2011). That is why it is not necessary to use this method when scientists have a prejudiced opinion concerning their topic.
In conclusion, it has been shown that interviews occupy an essential role in survey research. It is so because they allow scientists to cooperate with their respondents directly and obtain firsthand information. It is explained by the presence of many advantages, including the opportunities to judge respondents’ non-verbal behavior, receive information from people who cannot read and write, and achieve greater flexibility of research. In addition to that, one should note that interviews contribute to better outcomes under particular conditions. Thus, scientists should use this tool when they have sufficient time, need lengthy answers, and can ensure that the absence of anonymity will not be a barrier. Finally, one should mention that a bias can lead to unsatisfactory results of the interview.
Salkind, N. J. (2011). Exploring research (8th ed.). Pearson.
Sociology Group. (2019). Advantages and disadvantages of interview in research.
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