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6 Important Steps in Conducting an Interview for a Research Paper

In 1970, Mouly states that an interview is a “conversation” between two parties “to gather valid and reliable information” through the responses of the interviewee to a set of questions that are planned or arranged sequentially. He has also classified interviews into:

a. Closed or structure interviews – Use questions that require the respondent to choose his response from suggested answers. This is the use of more accurate generalizations in the last part of the investigation

b. Open or unstructured interviews – Give the interviewee freedom to think of his answers, which has more free will to answer whatever answer the interviewee wanted to answer. This is good for getting a specific understanding of the initial stage of inquiry.

In 1975, Wiersman defines Interview as a data-collection procedure that involves a “face-to-face confrontation between the interviewer and the subject or a group of subjects. According to him an interviewer may ask questions answerable by “Yes or No”.

In 1989, Borg says that closed questions allow the interviewee to respond to the questions more easily. With this the interviewer can quickly and easily codify and analyze the data. He also claims that it is more effective in obtaining factual or opinionated statements.



Types of Interview

1. According to function

  • Diagnostic
  • Treatment
  • Research

2. According to number of persons

  • Individual
  • Group

3. According to length of contact

  • Short contact
  • Prolonged contact

4. According to the roles assumed by the interviewer and the interviewee

  • Nondirective or client-centered interview (uncontrolled or unstructured)
  • Focused or Depth Interview (previously planned or analyzed)

Step 1: State the Purpose

In conducting an interview the first thing to do is to do a description of what the purpose of the paper. You should also include your awareness of the design of the research paper. You must be certain of what is the purpose of your paper to construct questions well, level of structure and the qualifications that is needed in an interviewee.

Research paper

Research paper

Step 2: Select a Sample

As you can remember in your statistic class sample refers to the subgroup of a larger group called a population. In this step you will not ask all the applicants of variables, like for example in school. You will not be asking all the students in a school rather you will just ask few students who are qualified on your research paper.

In the subgroup that you have chosen will be the basis for making decisions. Sampling is the right term if the researcher looks for right subgroup in his research.

Below are some of the various strategies on how you can get your samples through sampling. These are good pointers that you might need in doing the right result in a research.

1. Simple Random Sampling– This strategy is the best way to get a sample in a big population. In this technique, samples are selected through:

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  • (a.) Putting all the names in a clash card and picking randomly through this samples are selected via pure chance selection
  • (b.) The first thing you will do here is to get a list of students. Then, Assign a number to every student and by using tables and pick numbers randomly.

2. Biased Sampling – This is the worst way to select samples because the interviewer will select subject from “naturally occurring or artificially constructed group of students. One good example of this is: All samples will be getting on the first 50 enrollees in a specific subject.

Library of San Diego City College

Library of San Diego City College

3. Quota Sampling – This is a nonrandom strategy which the interviewer has the right claiming that he is knowledgeable to select samples in a research. The purpose of this strategy is to show the samples with regards to important characteristics are closely represents the target population.

4. Cluster Sampling – this is a type of strategy that selects samples via clusters rather than individuals. Like for example, the interviewer will randomly pick 3 students per class to complete his subgroup or samples.

5. Systematic Sampling – Through chance and the system, samples are selected. Like for example, you will pick randomly from 1-10 and out of 500 subjects, you will be taking every 10th name on the list until you complete your set of samples.

6. Stratified Sampling – This is the best strategy if you want to divide the group for further analysis. Samples are chosen through capability of qualifying for future analysis.

7. Essentially Random – Samples are not pick randomly rather chosen.

In 1983, Vockell had written some of the advantages and disadvantages of the five basic sampling techniques.


Random Sampling

Most Accurate and only influence by chance

Samples in the population might absent that must be take in consideration

Systematic Sampling

Just like Random Sampling though much easier to do

Biased in a system

Cluster Sampling

Easy to collect data from the subjects

Biased if the sample is small

Quota Sampling

Advisable to use if Random Sampling is impossible to do

Some bias are still uncontrollable

Stratified Sampling

Can be combined with other strategies, best way to use when the population is too large.

Bias if strata I given false weights unless the weighing procedure is used for overall analysis.

Step 4: Conduct a Pretest

The success of the interview does not just depend on planning, but also in conducting trials and pretest to outline and correct some flaws in the formation of questions, coding system and other aspects of the interview that you have done.

Through pretesting you can predict the effects of your planning and can help you determine the extent revisions that you will be making in your questions before face-to-face confrontation.

Step 3: Formulate Questions

Be clear, simple and direct in formulating questions so that your respondents will easily understand what you really asking for. It is essential to plan the structure of your opening statement, questions and closing remarks.

This is the stage where you need to plan for a certain method for coding responses and tallying results. You also need to make a schedule that you can use in conducting an interview. Through this, you know what to do first and the things that must be finished first.

How To Write A Research Paper Fast

Step 5: Conduct the Interview

The main purpose of your job as an interview is to ask questions, record every response and be accurate as much as possible. But before you do an interview you must connect and make some time in making friendship to attain spontaneity and elicit collaboration with him.

Never give suggestions or hints about possible responses to it will put bias to your research. Also control your temper and make your interview smooth and responsive. In case you have some misinterpretations try to ask him further like this:

Example: “Please Explain your answer a little further” or “Can you tell me a little more than that?”

In 1985, Bautista and Go cite Thompson’s suggestions’ on how to become a successful interviewer. They have cited essential qualities to be a successful interviewer

  1. An interest and respect for people as individuals
  2. Flexibility in his response to them
  3. Show understanding and sympathy for their point of view
  4. Has the willingness to listen quietly

They also phrased Thompson’s suggestions that questions must be:

  1. Simple
  2. Straightforward
  3. Specific.

Avoid talking and contradicting respondents’ answers for it will only put their ideas unspoken and will make information go away that will result your interview to be useless and positively misleading.

Step 6: Analyze and Interpret the Results

The stage where you can analyze, interpret and tabulate all the responses/results that you have garnered in your respondent. Since the formulation of questions and structuring of the interview has been developed already you can easily develop the coding system.

Reference: Communication Skills II: Developing basic Research and Writing Skills by Esther L. Baraceeros


Kenneth C Agudo (author) from Tiwi, Philippines on April 24, 2014:

I see, Oh I get it sheila, i Thought you where worrying about it. hehe

sheilamyers on April 22, 2014:

Ken: I only mentioned that in case you were using the polls as survey for a paper you'd planned on writing.

Kenneth C Agudo (author) from Tiwi, Philippines on April 21, 2014:

Hello Sheila: Thank you for the read and I am glad that you find it substantial too. It's okay, polls are gadgets to hear the pulse of the reader so it doesn't need to be so positive. :)

sheilamyers on April 10, 2014:

I hope I didn't skew your poll results. I'm not doing any research, but answered the questions as if I were. I learned some of this is college, but our sampling had to do with animal behavior studies so I didn't have to ask them any questions, but a lot of the same steps apply to choosing the sample size, etc. Thanks for the information about conducting interviews for a research paper because I feel your tips may come in handy if I ever decide to conduct a survey before writing a hub.

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