9 scienceppt - General Communication and Intercultural Communication by mifei


									   Doing Interviews

S. Kathleen Kitao
Kenji Kitao
  closed-ended question
  open-ended question
  mirror question
  probing question
  leading questions
  loaded questions
will discuss
  How to prepare for an interview, including types
   of questions to use and to avoid
  How to carry out the interview
Preparing for the Interview

When you interview someone, you ask
 questions with a particular purpose in mind.
If you hope to achieve your purpose, your
 preparation is almost as important as the
 interview itself.
There are three steps that you should go
 through to prepare for an interview.
Three steps in preparing for an

1. Determine what specific information is
2. Select the interviewee(s).
3. Prepare your questions.
1. Determine what specific information is
  In the case of doing interviews to gather
   information for a research project, this information
   is determined by your hypothesis or research
  Be as specific as possible about what you need to
This allows you to do four things:
   a) decide who would be appropriate to interview
   b) find out more about the subject from other sources,
    so you can ask intelligent questions
   c) plan the specific questions and the overall strategy
   d) assess when you have achieved your goals.
2. Select the interviewee(s).
  Who you interview is determined to some extent
   by step 1.
     Given what you want to know, who can give you that
        • In the case of doing quantitative research, you choose your
          interviewees from the group of people that you are studying.
            – That is, if you are studying the interpersonal relationships
               of Japanese college students, you would interview
               Japanese college students.
3. Prepare your questions.
  Based on whom you are interviewing and what
   information you want to get from them, make a
   list of the questions you want to ask.
  You should realize that you will not necessarily
   follow your list of questions exactly, but you
   should have a basic list of questions that will help
   you achieve your purposes.
Types of Questions
  Types of questions you should use
    1. Closed-ended questions.
    2. Open-ended questions.
    3. Mirror questions
    4. Probing questions
1. Closed-ended questions.
  Questions requiring a direct response
     •   a "yes" or "no" answer
     •   one or two sentences
     •   clear “right” answers
     •   related to a fact rather than an opinion, speculation, etc.
     •   Examples:
            – "How old are you?"
            – “Have you ever been overseas?”
            – “How and when did you and your best friend meet?”
2. Open-ended questions.
  Questions that do not have a definite answer and that
   allow the interviewee to answer in any direction.
     • Asking for an opinion
     • Ask the interviewee to speculate about something
     • Examples
         – “How do you think Internet friendships are different from
           face-to-face friendships?”
         – "How do you think getting married will affect your
         – “Do you think that your small group makes decisions
           more effectively when there is a strong leader? Why or
           why not?”
3. Mirror questions.
  Questions used to reflect back to the interviewee
   what you believe she/he said in order to check to
   make sure you understood correctly.
  Questions that might also be used to get her/him
   to elaborate on or clarify a point.
This type of question both allows you to check
 your comprehension and gives you a chance to
 show the interviewee that you are listening
 carefully and are interested in what he/she is
   "If I understand what you are saying, you agree with
    the school's new policy, because it will allow students
    to take a wider variety of classes."
4. Probing questions.
  Questions used to get an interviewee to elaborate
   on or clarify a response.
  You use these when you do not understand what
   the interviewee meant.
  You also use them when the interviewee says
   something unexpected or interesting and you want
   to learn more.
   "Why do you say…?"
   “What do you mean when you say...?”
You cannot plan these question in advance, but if
 you use them well as you are interviewing, you
 will often get interesting information.
As you are writing your questions, you should
 keep your hypotheses or research questions in
 front of you, and you should compare each
 question you write with them.
  Will that question help you answer the question or
   test the hypothesis?
  If the answer is “no,” then you should not ask the
Types of questions you should avoid.
  When you are writing questions for your
   interview, there are also two types of questions
   that you should not ask.
  They will not result in good responses, and they
   may make the interviewee distrust you.
  They are:
     1. Leading questions
     2. Loaded questions
1. Leading questions.
  Questions worded in a way that encourages a
   particular answer.
       • In English, negative questions about an opinion encourage a
         positive answer.
           – The question "Don't you think that face-to-face
             friendships are more “real” than Internet friendships?"
             prompts the interviewee to answer "yes."
This type of question should be avoided.
The purpose of your interview is to find out about the
 interviewee and his/her opinions, not to urge the
 interviewee to give a certain response.
2. Loaded questions.
  Questions that assume something that may or may
   not be true.
       • "Why is it difficult for a small group to make a decision when
         it does not have a strong leader?"
            – What it really means is, “It is difficult for a small group to
              make a decision when it does not have a strong leader.
              Why do you think this is true?”
            – The assumption that the question is based on is that small
              groups do have difficulty making decisions without a
              strong leader.
       – Your interviewee may not agree with this assumption, and
         that makes it a difficult question to answer.
       – It may also lead the interviewee to a specific type of
         answer, and again, that is not what you want.
       – You want to know what the interviewee thinks and has
Instead, you might ask:
   • “Do you think it is difficult for a small group to make a
     decision when it does not have a strong leader? Why or why
   • Or:
   • “How does the lack of a strong leader affect a group’s
     ability to make a decision?”
Deciding the Order of the Questions
  As you prepare for the interview, you should also
   think about the order in which to ask your
     One method is to start with broad questions and move
      to specific ones.
     Another is to start with specific questions and move to
      broad ones.
You may need to adjust your questions according to
 the responses you get.
   • If your interviewee is getting off the subject answering open-
     ended questions, you might need to switch to closed-ended
   • If the interviewee is answering only "yes" or "no" to closed-
     ended questions, you might switch to open-ended questions.
However, if you are doing interviews for a quantitative
 research project, you must be careful not to vary too
 much from the interview script.
If the interviews are done too differently, it makes
 them difficult to compare from a quantitative point of
Therefore, if you are doing interviews for a
 quantitative study, you should make certain you are
 getting the information you are asking for, without
 getting too far from the main point.
Preserving the Results of the Interview
  You also need to decide how you will preserve
   the results of the interview.
    Making an audio or video tape of the interview.
       • Advantages
           – This would preserve the information.
           – You could always go back and listen to/watch it.
       • Disadvantages
           – It might make the interviewee self-conscious.
           – Equipment sometimes malfunctions.
           – Video equipment may be difficult to set up and handle.
Taking notes.
  If this is what you decide to do, it is probably best to
   have a form to record the responses.
  If there are a limited number of possible responses,
   you can put them on the form and then just circle the
   one the interviewee indicates.
     • If you ask, “Where did you meet your best friend?” you can
       put possible responses such as “at school,” “in my
       neighborhood,” “through a mutual friend.”
     • Then you can just circle the interviewee’s response.
Whatever you can do to make it easier to record the
 response, you should include on the form.
   • Example:
        – If one question is “How long have you known your best
          friend?” you can put “____ years, ____ months” on the
          form and just fill in the numbers.
   • If you are asking questions that may have long answers, or an
     unlimited variety of answers, it may be difficult for you to
     write down everything.
  Pre-test the interview script.
  Try it out by actually interviewing the kind of
   people for whom the interview is intended.
  Find out whether the interviewees understand the
   questions and whether you are getting the kinds of
   responses you need.
  This will also help you refine the response form,
   if you are using one, so that you can finding out
   what types of responses you get.
Carrying Out the Interview

Once you are ready to start interviewing, you
 need to go through several steps.
  1. Arrange for the interview.
  2. Open the interview.
  3. Do the interview.
  4. Close the interview.
  5. Evaluate the interview.
  6. Analyze the information
1. Arrange for the interview.
  Identify yourself and the purpose of the interview.
  Try to do the interview at a time and place that is
   convenient for the interviewee.
2. Open the interview.
  Before you start the interview itself, try to put the
   interviewee at ease, if necessary, and build rapport.
  In a general way, you can explain what the
   interview is about, though you do not want to give
   too much information, since that might influence
   the interviewee’s responses.
     For example, you might say, “I’m doing interviews to
      learn about how people communicate with co-workers.”
  You might also thank the interviewee for taking
   the time to be interviewed.
3. Do the interview.
  Ask the questions that you have prepared but
   adjust the questions according to the responses
   that you are getting.
  Use probing questions and mirror questions to
   follow up on answers given during the interview.
Throughout the interview, you should evaluate
 the answers you are getting.
  Do you understand them?
     • If not, ask the interviewee to repeat the answer, or ask mirror
  Are you getting the specific information you need?
     • If not, ask probing questions. If the interviewee says
       something particularly interesting, use probing questions to get
       him/her to elaborate on that point.
4. Close the interview.
  You should not just stop the interview.
  You can finish by emphasizing important points
   or summarizing. You should definitely thank the
   interviewee, and mention that the interview has
   been helpful.
5. Evaluate the interview.
  After the interview, ask yourself whether you got
   the information you wanted.
  If not, why not?
  In any case, ask yourself how the interview could
   have been improved.
6. Analyze information.
  The last step is to synthesize the information into
   report or whatever your final product is.
  In the case of using an interview in a quantitative
   research study, you need to count the responses
   that fall into particular categories.

As you are preparing for and doing an
 interview, you can use the following list.
Preparing for the Interview
  1. Decide what specific information you need.
  2. Decide who you will interview.
  3. Prepare your questions.
     a. Combine open-ended and closed-ended questions as
     b. Be certain that you are avoiding both leading and
      loaded questions.
4. Decide on the order of your questions.
5. Decide how you will record the results of the
6. Pre-test your interview script and adjust it as
Doing the Interview
  1. Contact the interviewees and arrange for the
  2. Open the interview by putting the interviewee
   at ease, if necessary.
  3. Briefly explain the purpose of the interview.
  4. As you do the interview, evaluate the answers
   you are getting.
     a. Adjust the order of the questions as necessary.
     b. Use mirror questions and probing questions as
  5. Close the interview by summarizing the content
   or emphasizing an important point.
  6. Express your appreciation to the interviewee.

After the Interview
  1. Evaluate the interview to decide if you got the
   information you wanted.
  2. Analyze the information from the interview.

Interviews have the advantage that they are
 more flexible than questionnaires.
However, it is more difficult to gather large
 amounts of information.
To do successful interviews, the preparation is
 very important.
You need to write good questions.
As you are carrying out the interview, you
 need to be flexible both about the order of the
 questions and in asking mirror and probing

To top