Gábor Dániel Nagy

University of Szeged

Introduction to Interviews

Why Interviews

The ability to create and conduct a good interview is an essential skill. Market researchers utilize interviews to learn how to sell their products, while mass media professionals use them to obtain information from different people, such as politicians in the country. Police officers use interviews during crime investigations. Brinkmann and Kvale (2018) stated that in social sciences, interviews are used to collect data, a technique comprising two or more people who exchange information through questions and answers. The researcher designs the questions to obtain information from participants on a particular top or a collection of topics using research questions. Typically, interviews entail two or more individuals (the interviewer and interviewee). However, Brinkmann and Kvale (2018) suggested that interviews should not only involve two individuals and should not only occur in an in-person approach.

Many people wonder why they should choose interviews as their data collection technique. Brinkmann and Kvale (2018) affirmed that interviews are a perfect way to obtain comprehensive information and are more beneficial than surveys as they can be adapted as one learns more information. Survey data collection limits researchers or data collectors from changing the questions administered regardless of whether research participants’ responses spark follow-up questions. All questions are uniform and the same to all research participants. When designing, questions that are generally used in a survey determine the type of data one would get. However, the interviewer can follow up on new and unforeseen subjects and issues emerging during the dialogue in an interview.

According to McGrath et al. (2019), interviews are an effective technique when an individual want to know the story behind the responses received in a transcribed survey. Complex topics that need lengthy explanations or require a dialogue amongst two people or more should be investigated using interviews. Another reason to utilize interviews is when the study describes the procedure through which a phenomenon occurs, such as how people make decisions. Understanding a phenomenon requires exchanging ideas and dialogue with research respondents, and when they start sharing their stories, new questions that had not emerged before the interview arise because every individual is unique. Moreover, closed-ended survey questions are effective in capturing complex data to understand a phenomenon.

Interviews commonly entail conversations between an interviewer and interviewee, and they are typically done with a purpose. McGrath et al. (2019) stated that interviews can be conducted virtually through a phone, zoom, or in-person. The primary purpose of using interviews is to gather detailed information about an individual’s attitudes, motivations, beliefs, and perspectives, and they also enable people to probe past the survey findings to explore specific issues in great depth. Finally, interviews are used to map out different experiences by talking to different people, gain an in-depth understanding of their experiences, and handle sensitive matters compared with focus groups or surveys.