Tips for Conducting an Interview in Research

An interview is an in-depth inquiry and to conduct it properly one should be well aware of its mechanics. Here are a few tips for conducting an interview in research. To read about how to conduct an interview read my article that deals with the details about the structured and unstructured interviews.

Prepare your questions

Getting fully prepared for the questions that you need to ask is very important you can even write down all the questions that you have to ask. Some experienced interviewers prefer to ask random questions that come to mind as the interview proceeds but for that, the interviewer needs a lot of knowledge of the subject area and the mechanics of the interview as well. A student should better write down all the questions and write them in order so he can get some help from the written manuscript when needed. Written questions help interviewer in making sure that no question has been left unanswered.

It should be noted down that an interview is an in-depth inquiry about any phenomenon, situation or event so rather than asking basic and general questions that only yield yes or no answers the interviewer should develop questions that can provide in-depth answers. The purpose of the interview will be lost if the interviewer asks only yes or no questions because such questions can be more easily dealt in a questionnaire.

Recording the responses

In Interview you have to maintain a balance between asking questions, reading the expressions and general attitude of the respondent and recording the answers. If the interviewer spends too much of his time in asking questions and getting involved in what the interviewee answers then he may not be able to record the answers completely. The interviewer can recall few responses later on but most of the interview data will be lost because if it was not recorded properly. In some interviews, the respondent agrees on the recording of the interview using a tape recorder or a video recorder but not in all cases it is true. If the respondent is not comfortable in getting his interview recorded electronically you cannot record the interview in that manner. In research, you have to follow the ethical codes of conduct on every step and in every procedure.

Interview follow-up

There are times when you forget asking an important question or you forget to record it. You might need to ask the interviewee again about the question that needs to be answered. A face-to-face interview gives you more options to develop a rapport with the interviewee so for future, you can contact him. If you have conducted the interview on a telephone call you should make sure that you are courteous to your interviewee and give him full time and opportunity to explain the answers. Your courtesy will help you develop a rapport with the interviewee. Do not show to the interviewee that you are in a hurry as this might make him answer briefly and cut out the details that he knows and can tell you.


  • Turabian, L. k., A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 8th Ed, 2007, pp-33-34
  • Tensen, L. B., Research Strategies for a Digital Age, Thomson Wadsworth Pub, 2nd Ed. Pp-86-90



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