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Interviewing Techniques.

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Interviewing Techniques Experiments can be set up for psychologists to obtain information to observe what people do under different circumstances; they also use observation techniques to record segments of behaviour in more or less natural circumstances. We have often asked ourselves, " Why don't psychologists ask people directly about themselves?" we have encountered this technique as part of the overall participant observation method. However there are many ways the psychological researcher asks questions. In this essay I will be concentrating on studies where the gathering of information through direct questioning is the primary research source, this is usually done face to face but often by telephone or email. Face to face interviews range in a style across the series of structured from fixed to open-ended questions. Answers to open-ended questions are put into categories such as left wing/right wing for political questions or they are rated on a scale from one to ten. ...read more.


These are finely balanced against the disadvantages; from the positivists point of view there is a weak reliability or comparison across respondents. Interviews can also be a standardised procedure, this can be known as the structured but open-ended method. Here the researcher gives preset questions in a predetermined order to each of the respondents, this keeps the multiplicity of interpersonal variables to a minimum and ensures greater consistency in the data collected. However the respondents are still free to answer the questions in any way. The fully structured interview also has preset and ordered questions but here there is also a fixed answer to each question. This is usually a face-to-face technique but occasionally can be conducted by telephone or post, however this may reduce bias even further. The structured method is usually in use when you are stopped in the street as part of a survey. ...read more.


According to Patton (1990) there are six main questions, experience, knowledge, feelings, opinions, behaviour and sensory, whereas Turner (1982) stated that the setting is pivotal to the whole work, and rests to some extent of the knowledge of the researcher. Questions should be worded correctly, you should begin with a purpose statement, never ask why questions, use probing questions and use the interviewees language. Things can also go wrong, so the researcher must be prepared. Interviewers have 3 common choices for the saving of data: note taking, audiotape or video recordings. Throughout this essay I have examined many methods of interview techniques and explained the advantages and disadvantages of each. Semi- structured and informal methods are very similar in style, were there is a relaxed atmosphere for the participating respondents and they are both efficient for data collection. The structured approach, whether it be face-to-face, postal or by telephone seem to be less time consuming but validity and reliability are weak. ...read more.

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