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November 27, 2014 / C H Thompson

Structured interviews

by Sam Cook


  1. There is less of a problem with interviewer bias than unstructured (open interviews) as there’s less involvement of the interviewer
  2. As they usually have pre-planned (pre-coded) questions  it’s relatively easy to put the data gathered into statistical forms such as graphs (positivist in nature)
  3. As the questions are pre-coded the data gathered is often seen as more reliable as all respondents are answering the same questions which makes it easier to replicate the process by other interviewers
  4. They’re generally seen as more effective way of getting questionnaires completed particularly postal questionnaires which have a high non-response rate particularly as it overcomes the problems of illiteracy


  1. Their pre-coded structure means it puts limits on what respondents can say a) which means the interviewer can’t probe the respondent beyond what the set questions b) these limitations mean it’s difficult for the interviewer to gain understanding (verstehen) of what the respondents means
  2. Although the in the advantage is seen to be the lack of interviewer bias, there is still remains a possibility of interviewer bias caused by non-verbal cues such as frowning
  3. In relation to postal questionnaires and questionnaires, interviews are more costly (interviewers have to be paid and the interview process is much slower) than either postal questionnaires or questionnaires

by Sam Cook


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