Methods of Child Study: Interview: Advantages and Disadvantages

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Interview

  • It is a technique that simply uses direct conversation with children to gather data. One-person (Interviewer) questions the other (Interviewee) on certain issues and then draws conclusions from these conversations. It is a detailed, in-depth conversation that is guided by certain objectives.

  • The interview schedule is the list of questions used for interviewing. The face-to-face contact in interviews is useful in repeating, reframing and sometimes probing emotional issues.

  • The interview can be audio-recorded or noted. Audio-recordings are more accurate and need to be transcribed. Transcription is the procedure of playing back the tape and writing out the responses.

The steps in constructing and conducting an interview are:

  • Decide on an issue that you want to study and look for a suitable title

  • List out the areas on this issue that is important to investigate

  • Write down the questions; word them carefully and simply

  • Arrange the identified questions from simple to more complex

  • Prepare an introductory passage for the respondent to explain your purpose

  • Try out the questions before conducting the final interview to ensure that the wording is valid. Try to use a conversational approach

  • Take some time to make the respondent feel comfortable in your presence. This is also called rapport-formation

  • Conduct the interview in a cordial manner

  • Thank the respondent and wind up the interview politely

  • Care should be taken to note the answers accurately. It is advisable in such cases to write out the detailed interview responses as soon as the interview is finished

The different types of interviews are:

Types of Interview

Types of Interview

Types of Interview

  • Structured: A structured interview involves the researcher asking the children a list of predetermined questions with a predefined set of answers about a carefully selected topic.

  • Semi-structured: interviews are conducted with a fairly open framework which allow for focused, conversational, two-way communication. They can be used both to give and receive information. It contains a set of flexible questions that can be used as a guide.

  • Unstructured: An informal discussion that has no strict guidelines, allowing the discussion to be open and not necessarily concise in its nature.

Advantages of Interview

  • Interview is a powerful technique for studying in-depth issues.

  • Questions can be re-worded or repeated in case these are not understood correctly.

  • The interviewer and interviewee can proceed at their own speed.

  • Doubts can be clarified, and further questioning can proceed in case the need arises.

  • It can be used with illiterate participants quite easily.

Disadvantages of Interview

  • Intensive training is required to conduct interviews.

  • Sometimes the face-to-face conversation can make children uncomfortable especially when the questions are intimate in nature.

  • Sometimes writing and recording can make children feel conscious.

Factors to be Kept in Mind While Interviewing

  • Questions should be carefully constructed

  • The interview should not be too long

  • Care should be taken to establish rapport and to make children comfortable

  • The confidentiality of answers obtained during the interview must be maintained.

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