Structured interviews

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"Asking the same set of standardised questions"

Introduction

Structured interviewing involves asking each interviewee the same set of standardised questions.

The order of questioning is fixed and wording is usually specific: there is little scope for probing or deviating from the specified agenda. The questions and the responses given tend to fit into predetermined categories, confirming or disconfirming the hypothesis the interviewer is pursuing.

In studies where interviewers need to make comparisons between responses from different interviewees, they will require their interviews to be more structured, so that the same issues are covered by each respondent (Arthur and Nazroo, 2003). This method is more closely related to the methods used in large-sample surveys and is usually based on a positivist epistemology.

Example

Study Number: 5069
Study Title: Presentation of Genetically Modified (GM) Crop Research to Non-specialists, 1997-2002: A Case Study
Principal Investigator(s): Cook, G and Robbins, P.T
Date of Fieldwork: 1997-2002

Abstract: The study investigated the presentation of genetic modification (GM) crop research at the University of Reading to non-specialists within the university, and to users, potential students, and the general public outside. The aim was to uncover how linguistic and rhetorical choices vary with the purpose of the communication and with the communicator's perceptions of audience knowledge and views, and how these choices may persuade or antagonise their receivers.

Citation: Cook, G. and Robbins, P.T., Presentation of Genetically Modified (GM) Crop Research to Non-specialists, 1997-2002 : A Case Study [computer file]. Colchester, Essex: UK Data Archive [distributor], February 2005. SN: 5069, http://dx.doi.org/10.5255/UKDA-SN-5069-1

Interview schedule
Interview extract one
Interview extract two

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