Qualitative Methods of Research
Interviews are a widely used tool to access people’s experiences and their inner perceptions, attitudes, and feelings of reality. Based on the degree of structuring, interviews can be divided into three categories: structured interviews, semi-structured interviews, and unstructured interviews (Fontana & Frey, 2005). A structured interview is an interview that has a set of predefined questions and the questions would be asked in the same order for all respondents. This standardization is intended to minimize the effects of the instrument and the interviewer on the research results. Structured interviews are similar to surveys except that they are administered orally rather than in writing. Semi-structured interviews are more flexible. An interview guide, usually including both closed-ended and open-ended questions, is prepared; but in the course of the interview, the interviewer has a certain amount of room to adjust the sequence of the questions to be asked and to add questions based on the context of the participants’ responses.
Brief understanding and Benefits of Unstructured Interviews
Unstructured interviewing involves direct interaction between the researcher and a respondent or group. It differs from traditional structured interviewing in several important ways. First, although the researcher may have some initial guiding questions or core concepts to ask about, there is no formal structured instrument or protocol. Second, the interviewer is free to move the conversation in any direction of interest that may come up. Consequently, unstructured interviewing is particularly useful for exploring a topic broadly. However, there is a price for this lack of structure. Because each interview tends to be unique with no predetermined set of questions asked of all respondents, it is usually more difficult to analyze...