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Describe and evaluate the interview as a research method in psychology

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´╗┐Describe and evaluate the interview as a research method in psychology ? Olivia Trowell Interviews are a way of collecting large amounts of data where a series of questions are answered in a face-to-face situation. In an interview the researcher can work using a complete set of questions e.g. a questionnaire, but in a face-to-face situation the researcher has the opportunity to expand or clarify the questions and obtain much more information. The questions may be explored in more depth and the researcher can get a fuller and more valid answer from the responder. There are three types of interview structure which are commonly used. These are called 'structured interviews', 'semi-structured interviews' and 'unstructured interviews'. A structured interview always follows a set format. It comprises a questionnaire written by an individual and there may be in addition some instructions for using the questionnaire such as where and how to expand some of the questions and answers. ...read more.


There are many advantages of using face to face interviews as a method of collecting data. One advantage is that questions can be explained and enlarged upon if the questions aren't in a set format. A questionnaire is limited to the questions written and when gathering qualitative data, there will be limited space available. This is an ideal method to use when in-depth and detailed information is required. Another advantage of using interviews is that they always tend to gather valid answers. This is because the interviewers are able to use their own words and aren't constrained by the questions as they are in questionnaires. The data is also 'real life' and 'true' because the respondent is being asked the questions face-to-face, so are less likely to give an inaccurate or invalid answer. There are as many disadvantages as advantages of using interviews . ...read more.


Data obtained in a sterile environment such as a questionnaire cannot be as in depth or open. Practically, it may also be difficult to organise an interview in the first place and to find the people you wish to interview . It may not be easy to actually carry out the interview due to perhaps the age or mental capacity of the person involved or other issues relating to their state of mind. Interviews can then of course be very time consuming. They need lots of preparation to ensure that the researcher is prepared properly and afterwards the information will need to be written up properly. However, depending on the purpose of the research and many other important factors an interview may be the best way of obtaining the data required and the researcher will be able to structure the interview in the way in which he or she thinks it will work best. ...read more.

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