Semi-structured interviews

Article Image

"Allowing for the exploration of emergent themes and ideas"

Introduction

Semi-structured interviewing is more flexible than standardised methods such as the structured interview or survey.

Although the interviewer in this technique will have some established general topics for investigation, this method allows for the exploration of emergent themes and ideas rather than relying only on concepts and questions defined in advance of the interview.

The interviewer would usually use a standardised interview schedule with set questions which will be asked of all respondents. The questions tend to be asked in a similar order and format to make a form of comparison between answers possible. However, there is also scope for pursuing and probing for novel, relevant information, through additional questions often noted as prompts on the schedule. The interviewer frequently has to formulate impromptu questions in order to follow up leads that emerge during the interview.

Usually the interviewer's role is engaged and encouraging but not personally involved. The interviewer facilitates the interviewees to talk about their views and experiences in depth but with limited reciprocal engagement or disclosure.

Example

Study Number: 5190
Study Title: Cross-Generational Investigation of the Making of Heterosexual Relationships, 1912-2003
Principal Investigator(s): Hockey, J., Robinson, V., Meah, A.
Date of Fieldwork: June 2002 - July 2003

Abstract: This study represents the first major UK-based empirical study of the making of heterosexual relationships over the last 80 years. Making intimacy and the practices of everyday life its core focus, it asks how women and men manage and subjectively experience the institution of heterosexuality.

Citation: Hockey, J., Robinson, V. and Meah, A., Cross-Generational Investigation of the Making of Heterosexual Relationships, 1912-2003 [computer file]. Colchester, Essex: UK Data Archive [distributor], October 2005. SN: 5190, http://dx.doi.org/10.5255/UKDA-SN-5190-1

Interview schedule
Interview extract one
Interview extract two

Back to top  

Discover UK Data Service