A structured interview is a data-gathering strategy that entails presenting inquiries in a certain sequence to get information on a specific topic. It is one of the four most common types of interviews.
Structured interviews are generally quantitative. If the queries are open-ended, these can also be used for qualitative research, although this is much less common.
Although it is quite common to think of a job interview when talking about structured interviews, they are quite prevalent in marketing, sociology, surveys, and other research domains.
Structured interviews are distinguished from other forms of interviews because the questions are predefined in terms of both topic and sequence. The following are the additional three most prevalent forms of interviews:
The most systematized form of interview is the structured interview. Unlike semi-structured or unstructured interviews, a pre-planned set of questions is presented in a deliberate order.
It is quite common for structured interviews to employ close-ended questions. The responses can be binary or multiple-choice, with participants answering in the positive or the negative to each question. Although less prevalent, structured interviews occasionally entail open-ended questions as well.
You may compare answers amongst subjects in a uniform setting by posing predetermined questions in sequential order. It helps spot patterns and other areas that require additional investigation, making them useful for explanatory or exploratory research.
When doing structured interviews, keep the following in mind:
It is very easy to conduct structured interviews and analyze the responses from the subjects. By offering the same set of questions to all the subjects, possible biases are eliminated, and the analysis is far less ambiguous. You might be able to conduct the entire interview if you are organized enough.
It might be tough to come up with organized research questions. It’s preferable if you have a thorough grasp of your subject or if there is a substantial body of literature on the subject.
Before giving the subjects, many structured interview questions go through a test phase to detect any possible difficulties.
Ensure to select the most appropriate interview style for your work. The most significant distinctions between the four categories are depicted in the following table.
✓ Bias reduction
Contextual distortions and other biases are reduced by the constant design of structured interviews. By giving all subjects identical questions in a similar order, the potential of bias is reduced due to the sequence or type of the questions answered and any contextual influences.
✓ Enhanced credibility, dependability, and authenticity
Structured interviews are more trustworthy than other sorts of interviews since they are meticulously planned. The same questions are provided to all the subjects in the same order, making it easy to compare responses. It adds to their trustworthiness and legitimacy.
✓ Simple, inexpensive, and powerful
Structured interviews, like surveys and questionnaires, provide subtlety and depth to the researched issue without adding additional work for the interviewer. As a result, the interviewee will require less preparatory time, and the procedure will take less time.
⤫ Formal in nature
Because structured interviews are so regimented, there is little chance for the interviewer and the subject to develop a relationship. In addition, structured interviews’ apparent formality might make participants feel uneasy or frightened, influencing their responses.
⤫ Limited versatility
Once the questions have been chosen, they can’t be changed or omitted without compromising the interview’s accuracy. A question must be delivered to all responders, even if it is poorly written, redundant, or useless.
⤫ Limited extent
The extent of most structured interviews is constrained since they are closed-ended. There isn’t much opportunity for complexity in the replies, and subjects can’t go into great depth. Moreover, it’s tough to determine how much an individual’s answer represents their genuine thoughts if they don’t relate to binary or multiple-choice alternatives.
Writing structured interview questions that mimic precisely what you want to evaluate might be tricky. Here are some pointers for developing questions with high internal validity:
Establish your priorities and goals
Begin by generating some queries to aid in the conceptualization of your research question, like:
You can go on to create your questions if you have a compelling justification for conducting a structured interview.
Create your questions
Pay close emphasis to the order in which the structured interview questions are asked and how they are phrased. Keep in mind that they must all be the same in an organized interview. Therefore, keep your inquiries closed-ended or extremely simple open-ended.
Make a list of the people who will be participating
You may utilize a variety of sampling techniques based on your topic, like:
Be wary of sample bias, irrespective of whatever approach you select; whenever a few individuals of a population are more inclined to be included in a sample than others forms a sample bias.
Choose your medium
Decide if your interviews will be conducted in person or online. If the meeting is being held in person, over the phone, or via virtual meetings, you must pick whether you want to speak with respondents in person, on-call, or via teleconferencing.
Before beginning each interview, make sure you have written explicit permission from each participant. Permission to record video or audio or a private arrangement to anonymize data is all examples of this.
Carry out your interviews
Make sure that all of the variables in your interviews are consistent.
To avoid data inaccuracies, ensure to keep your replies orderly.
It’s time to assess your data when you’ve completed your interviews.
If you recorded the interviews, you’d almost certainly need to transcribe them before proceeding with your analysis. In addition, your supervisor may ask you to provide the transcriptions along with your paper in some situations.
To begin, you must choose between verbatim transcription and intelligent verbatim transcription. Does pauses, laughing, or fillers like “um” or “like” impact your analysis?
Consider boosting the rate to 1.25 or 1.5 to allow faster transcriptions if you’re a rapid typer. If your study budget permits it, you could also employ transcribing software. It would help if you definitely double-checked the transcriptions when using digital tools.
As you listen, the transcribing process is a fantastic chance for you to tidy up your data by finding and correcting any inconsistencies or inaccuracies.
It’s essential to do your theme or content analysis when you’ve finished transcribing. It frequently entails “coding” phrases, trends, or topics and categorizing them for a more comprehensive examination.
Since many structured interviews are closed-ended, you’ll most likely be doing textual analysis instead of topic analysis.
When using a deductive approach, be cautious of sampling error, especially if the sample is too small.
You can use either an inductive or deductive technique to perform content analysis. You allow the facts to define your topics using an inductive method. In contrast, a deductive technique entails determining if your evidence supports predetermined themes or notions.
Content analysis is a methodical technique that can be readily duplicated, ensuring that your results are reliable. Remember, however, that while this method minimizes prejudice, it does not eradicate it. Therefore, even if your assessment does not corroborate your ideas, be cautious about being objective.
Presenting your conclusions
After completing your data analysis, you’ll need to put your results together into a research report.
Using inferential statistics in conjunction with descriptive statistics, your results section should include the statistical test, p-value, and effect size. These numbers indicate if your findings support dismissing your null hypothesis and whether the outcome is practical.
The major takeaways and prospects for additional study can then be discussed.
Example of a structured interview
Assume you’re interested in providing healthcare at college. You attend a big public university with a prominent foreign student body, and you believe there are differences in perspectives based on origin country.
You believe that students from nations with single-payer or socialized healthcare will find the US choices less appealing.
Because there is so much study on this subject, you consider conducting structured interviews with the students to discover whether there is a difference between foreign and domestic students.
You’re a member of a huge campus club that brings foreign and local students together, and you send out a mail to the community asking for volunteers.
Some of the simplest questions that you can ask are as follows
After completing your structured interviews and transcribing your data, you can undertake content analysis, categorizing replies into different categories. You will utilize the deductive technique to examine if your assumptions seem to hold because you began your study with the notion that overseas students may find US healthcare deficient.
A data-gathering technique that entails asking questions to the subjects in a certain order is known as a structured interview.
The main four types of interviews include the following:
Structured, unstructured, semi-structured and focus group interviews
The interviewer bias is a sort of bias that occurs when an interviewer’s personality impacts the subject’s responses.
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