When choosing the most effective research method, you must first decide on the kind of answers you are searching for. A quantitative method will find answers that are easily measured and follow trends and patterns. The qualitative method, however, leads to answers that explore differences in meanings and contexts. This essay will explore semi-structured interviews, a qualitative method that identifies themes and responses from preset open questions. The method is utilised for its opportunity to present rich information and answers that would not be found in a formally structured interview. The success of this method is reliant on the quality of its key elements, as well as the assumption of integrity with both participants and research team. Because these factors are never guaranteed, this essay will discuss how semi-structured interviews may operate to create credible research and where limitations will lie.
The semi-structured interview is a research method that collects qualitative data from a set of open questions and conversation. It’s flexibility separates itself from the quantitative methods in surveying and standardised interviewing (Bryman, 2012). Instead of quickly sortable data, semi-structured interviews gather information that emphasise the themes and new ideas. The method structure is very flexible, with only a brief guide to direct the interviews. While quantitative methods generally reflect the researchers ideas, semi-structured interviews inquire more into
This study was a qualitative descriptive exploratory study, which Grove, Burns and Gray (2013, p. 27) define as being of use when researchers seek to understand a problem by describing it and promoting further understanding. Qualitative research aims to investigate a phenomenon or analyse perspectives, this method often utilises a smaller study population but yields data rich in human experience (Schira, 2009, p.77-78). An example of this qualitative paradigm is the researcher’s use of interviews as a data collection method, and smaller sample size.
‘Employing a qualitative methodology, underpinned by a constructivist world view, has provided the means to generate rich, deep and contextualised understandings of the research issue, and an appreciation of the socially constructed and experienced realities of the participants.’ (Highfield 2012)
In order to meet the study objectives, in addition to the case study, a semi-structured interview was conducted using non-random sampling. As respondents of the interview had to have particular characteristics such as ability to value property and knowledge about the property market, estate agents were contacted. A total of 7 interviews were conducted with estate agents in the West Hampstead/Kilburn area. The interviews lasted approximately 10 minutes. The participants were as follows:
After the participants were chosen, then interviews were conducted using format open-ended questions. " A qualitative interview approach was thought to be the best means of exploring expectations people had for the role" (Connelly et al., 2003, p. 299). Open-ended questions allow the participants to raise important issues that may not be addressed if there is a fixed sequence of questions. This is appropriate for a qualitative study.
These two guides covered many topics that related back to the research questions. The authors listed examples from the interview guides that do support the qualitative nature of this study. The examples were all open-ended questions meant to develop dialogue between the investigator and the interviewee.
A qualitative methodological approach was the obvious choice in that it allows for the collection and interpretation of stories, narratives, interviews and other forms of non-quantifiable data. A qualitative approach also does not demand or strive for detached objectivity of the researcher but instead encourages the disclosure of researcher bias and the engagement of the researcher with the research and subjects, often in the role of participant-observer (Dade, Tartakov, Hargrave, & Leigh,
The pilot study conducted in this research shows that there were a few problems within the overall design of the interview and therefore the researchers decided to make some minor changes to their design, these changes included altering the questions so they were open ended, they also made the interview less structured in able to gain more focused answers in which they could analyse.
The data collection that was chosen in qualitative research is interviews. Interviewing involves asking questions and getting answers from participants in a study. Interviewing has a variety of forms (Rowley, 2012). These forms are: individual, face-to-face interviews and face-to-face group interviewing. Asking and answers of question can be done by the telephone, face-to-face, and also many include other electronic devises. Interviews can either be structured, semi-structure, and unstructured (Rowley, 2012).
One advantage of a semi structured interview is that in the case of participants who tend to answer questions briefly, the interviewer can ask more open ended questions and cater the structure of the interview for the participant. The interviewer has a choice of which order to ask the questions in and how to ask them. For instance, in the transcript for the interview, the interviewer is being provided with one sentence yes/no replies in the beginning. Then, a few questions later, the interviewer asks a more detailed question that asks the participant how they manage their diabetes and who helps them. This prompts a more detailed response from the participant, who has now been asked to speak more freely about their experience with diabetes. Furthermore, for semi-structured interviews, the interviewers can follow what the participants are saying and modify their questions accordingly. The interviewer can be prompted by something the participant has said, and explore that prompt further in their proceeding questions. For example, when the respondent states that they do their own finger prick blood test, the interviewer then explores that deeper by asking follow up questions such as what equipment the participant uses and the difference in their own materials versus the hospital’s. Furthermore, in a semi-structured interview, the participant might bring up interesting points the interviewer had not come across in their
Howard and Johnson (2004) conducted a qualitative study using semi-structured interviews to investigate ‘resilient’ teachers’ strategies for coping with burnout in their day-to-day teaching in disadvantaged Australian schools. Findings from the interviews found that by adopting a resilience perspective, a small group of teachers who persistently cope well with serious occupational stress were able to be identified. Participants in this study identified a sense of agency, a strong support group (i.e. a proficient and concerned leadership team), pride in achievements and competence in areas of personal importance as their major protective factors in coping with burnout and stress. All these factors were strong features throughout the interview.
The study conducted by Lindberg et al. (2009) is an interpretive phenomenological study. Lindberg et al. (2009) utilized semistructured interviews to be sure that the specific set of topics they are focused on is covered during the interview. Each interview lasted anywhere from 25 to 95 minutes (Lindberg et al., 2009). The interview setting depends on the location that the participants chose either their own home, work, or at the hospital for those with infectious disease (Lindberg et al.,
The data collection was done in two phases. Focus groups and individual semi-structured interviews were organized. In the first phase two focus groups that involved nine of the healthcare providers were conducted in November and December of 2009. The researchers incorporated this phase to pinpoint the most important topics to observe during the main stage of the research study. The second phase integrated the individual semi-structured interviews that ranged from February to September of 2010 and consisted of the remaining 25 healthcare providers that cared for patients with cachexia. That study stated that all of the interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed into the exact same words of the individual to be analyzed. The researchers
Whereas a structured interview follows a standardised format, in an unstructured interview the interviewer has complete freedom to vary the interview. Supporters argue that this brings a number of important advantages. Such as, rapport and sensitivity, the interviewee's views are clearer, the ability to check understanding, flexibility and the ability for the interviewer to explore unfamiliar topics. However, there are multiple disadvantages to using unstructured interviews in sociological research. Such as, practical problems, which include, time and sample size, training, and interpersonal skills, there are also issues with representativeness, reliability, quantification and validity.
The proposed methodology is a primary qualitative approach of semi-structured interviews. This method has been chosen as the focus of this