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Soc 232 Feb 4th.doc

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University of Saskatchewan
SOC 232
Stuart Leard

1 Lecture 7:00pm Thurs ARTS 241 Structured interviews have to deal with interviewer effects: – The characteristics of the interviewer may influence the responses given. – Behaviour, dress, age – Sex, social class, and race of interviewer are key reactive issues. Interview Contexts In person: superior Face-to-face interviewing is the preferred method in academic research. Data gathered through face-to-face interviews is argued to be a superior quality to that of telephone interviews. Telephone Interviews • Strengths – Cheaper and quicker to administer, especially where the respondents are geographically spread out. – Easier to supervise to reduce interviewer errors up front. – Reduced issue with confidentiality that exists with taped interviews. – Reduced bias arising from ‘interviewer effect’. – Reactive considerations decreased – Find out whats going on in the English speaking world • Weaknesses – May exclude people without telephones (poor), ‘unlisted numbers’, cell phones, and the hearing impaired unless a computer random-digit-dialling program is used. (This is prohibited by law in some areas.) – Hard to sustain for long periods of time (20–25 minutes). – Personal interviews tend to be more effective with sensitive issues. – Less peripheral information available to work with to assess for understanding and other social conditions. – Difficult to be sure targeted respondent is the person actually answering the questionnaire. – Visual aids cannot be used to assist the interview. – Cannot read body language Computer assisted interviewing: Skype Filter question example: Aseries of questions pertain to car ownership. Afilter question could be, ‘Do you own a car?’ If the answer is ‘no’, the software can automatically skip all further questions on car ownership. Online personal Interview • Advantages – Efficiency and economy of the internet. – Opportunity for more considered, fuller responses. – Ease of contact for follow-up. – No need to transcribe. • Disadvantages 2 – Fairly high dropout rate. (May be overcome by developing mutual trust.) Online personal Interview Methodological issues – Trust developed through • soliciting agreement before sending questions, • self-disclosure by researcher, • disclose details of research project. – Questions sent in bulk • May lead to interviewee answering only the most interesting. – Question-followed-by-reply process • More reliable but more time consuming. Conducting Interviews: Basic Points Interview schedule: a formal list of questions that the interviewer must follow in detail. Typically the questions must be asked in the order given. • Schedule – Interviewers should have a thorough knowledge of the interview schedule. • Introduction – Respondents should be provided with a credible rationale for the research. • Rapport – Interviewers should try to develop rapport with interviewees but maintain a cautious balance. – ‘Too friendly’may cause the interview to get side-tracked, go on too long, or encourage an interviewee to tailor their responses toward
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