- Advanatges of using unstructured, informal interviews
- The interviewer is able to develop a rapport with the respondent becuase of its informality. The respondent is therefore more likely to be at ease when explaining or describing certain matters.
- Unlike the barriers of the 'interview schedule' of structured interviews, the interviewers is free to vary the questions that may not have been thought of before hand.
- the relaxed and normal situation of the interview may result in more detailed and honest answers
- useful for investigating sensitive issues such as domestic violence which could not be investiagted through a questionnaire, survey or experiment
- the interviwers can probe for answers and explain questions which the respondent may not understand or is unsure of, unlike the pre-set questions of formal interviews
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Disadvantages of unstructured, informal interviews:
- The problem of 'interview bias' - the tone, facial expression, gender, age and posture of the interviewes may significantly influence responses.
- Usually, people unconciosuly act differently when being interviewed and hence their behaviour is set to the artificial situation - talking to an unknown audience
- Respondents may lie, exaggerate or fail to expand answers which makes the validity of answers questionable.
- Social desirability - respondents may give answers that they think are appropriate, plausible and 'socially desirable' to say.
- Hard to quantify and compare results considering the range and variety of answers
- Time-Consuming - not structured questions but characterised by long, extensive answers.
- Tendency to go off the intended topic becuase it is unstructured
- Cannot be easily repeated - question of reliability
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