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Interviews are particularly useful for getting the story behind a

participant’s experiences. The interviewer can pursue in-depth

information around the topic. Interviews may be useful as follow-up to
certain respondents to questionnaires,e.g., to further investigate their
responses. (McNamara,1999)

Structured Interview
This is also known as a formal interview (like a job interview).
The questions are asked in a set / standardized order and the interviewer
will not deviate from the interview schedule or probe beyond the
answers received (so they are not flexible).
These are based on structured, closed-ended questions.

A structured interview is one where the interviewer asks each

participant the sameset of questions in the exact same order
(including probes), in order to gather consistent and
comparable data.

This method of interviewing is also known as the Standardized

Open-Ended Interview (Patton, 2002) and uses preestablished
questions with limited response categories.

1. Structured interviews are easy to replicate as a fixed set of
closed questions are used, which are easy to quantify – this means
it is easy to test for reliability.
2. Structured interviews are fairly quick to conduct which means
that many interviews can take place within a short amount of time.
This means a large sample can be obtained resulting in the
findings being representative and having the ability to be
generalized to a large population.

1. Structure interviews are not flexible. This means new questions
cannot be asked impromptu (i.e. during the interview) as an
interview schedule must be followed.
2. The answers from structured interviews lack detail as only
closed questions are asked which generates quantitative data. This
means a research will won't know why a person behaves in a
certain way.

Unstructured Interview
These are sometimes referred to as ‘discovery interviews’ & are more like
a ‘guided conservation’ than a strict structured interview. They are
sometimes called informal interviews.
An interview schedule might not be used, and even if one is used, they
will contain open-ended questions that can be asked in any order. Some
questions might be added / missed as the Interview progresses.

1. Unstructured interviews are more flexible as questions can be
adapted and changed depending on the respondents’ answers. The
interview can deviate from the interview schedule.
2. Unstructured interviews generate qualitative data through the
use of open questions. This allows the respondent to talk in some
depth, choosing their own words. This helps the researcher
develop a real sense of a person’s understanding of a situation.
3. They also have increased validity because it gives the
interviewer the opportunity to probe for a deeper understanding,
ask for clarification & allow the interviewee to steer the direction
of the interview etc.

1. It can be time consuming to conduct an unstructured interview
and analyze the qualitative data (using methods such as thematic
2. Employing and training interviewers is expensive, and not as
cheap as collecting data via questionnaires. For example, certain
skills may be needed by the interviewer. These include the ability
to establish rapport & knowing when to probe.

Design of Interviews
First you must choose whether to use a structured or non-structured
Next, you must consider who will be the interviewer, and this will
depend on what type of person is being interviewed. There are a number
of variable to consider:

Gender and age: This can have a big effect on respondents answer,
particularly on person issues.

Personal characteristics: Some people are easier to get on with

than others. Also, the accent and appearance (e.g. clothing) of the
interviewer can have an effect on the rapport between the
interviewer and interviewee..

Ethnicity: People have difficulty interviewing people from a

different ethnic group.

Procedure of the Interview ƒ Occasionally verify the tape recorder (if

used) is working. ƒ Ask one question at a time. ƒ Att empt to remain
as neu tral as possible. ƒ Encourage responses. ƒ Be careful about the
appearance when note taking. ƒ Provide transition between major topics.
ƒ Don’t lose control of the interview
After the Interview After the Interview ƒ Verify if the tape recorder,
if used, worked throughout the interview. ƒ Make any notes on your written
notes. ƒ Write down any observations made d uring the interview.

Structured interview definition:

What are structured interviews?
A structured interview is a type of interview in which
the interviewer asks a particular set of predetermined

In structured interviews, questions are planned and

created in advance, which means that all
candidates are asked the same questions in
the same order.

Structured interviews are also known as:

 Standardized interviews
 Patterned interviews
 Planned interviews
 Formal interviews
Advantages and disadvantages of structured

Advantages of structured interview

Since in structured interviews all the candidates are

asked the same questions, it’s easy to compare their
answers and hire the right job candidate. You can
evaluate candidates in a most objective and fair way,
which also makes structured interviews more legally

Disadvantages of structured interview

On the other hand, structured interviews are harder

and more complicated to develop. You have to write
them, test them and make sure interviewers stick to

You also risk your interview questions leaking out,

which means future candidates can come prepared.

Finally, this type of one-size-fits-all interview can seem a

bit cold and unpersonalized, making it harder to
provide an excellent candidate experience.
Unstructured interview
definition: What are
unstructured interviews?
An unstructured interview is a type of interview in
which the interviewer asks questions which are not
prepared in advance.

In unstructured interviews, questions arise

spontaneously in a free-flowing conversation, which
means that different candidates are asked different

Unstructured interviews are also known as:

 Informal interviews
 Casual interviews
 Free-flowing interviews

Advantages and disadvantages of

unstructured interviews

Advantages of unstructured interviews

The main advantage of an unstructured interview is

their personalizedapproach. This is especially useful
when you compare candidates who are equally
qualified or for jobs where
their personality and communication skillsare crucial.
Additionally, since unstructured interviews allow for a
free-flowing conversation, they seem much more casual
and help candidates relax and feel more comfortable
during the interview.

Disadvantages of unstructured interviews

Since in unstructured interviews different candidates are

asked different questions, it’s harder to compare their
answers and evaluate candidates equally and

Semi-structured interview
definition: What are
semi-structured interviews?
A semi-structured interview is a type of interview in
which the interviewer asks only a few predetermined
questions while the rest of the questions are not
planned in advance.

In semi-structured interviews, some

questions are predetermined and asked all
candidates, while others arise spontaneously in a
free-flowing conversation.

Semi-structured interviews are also known as:

 Moderately structured interviews
 Hybrid interviews
 Combined interviews

Advantages and disadvantages of

semi-structured interviews

Advantages of semi-structured interviews

Since semi-structured interviews combine both the

structured and unstructured interview styles, they can
offer the best form both worlds.

They can secure objective comparison of candidates,

but at the same time provide a more personalized and
spontaneous approach that allows exploration of
interesting points in specific candidate’s resume.

Disadvantages of unstructured interviews

Compared with structured interviews, semi-structured

interviews are less objective and legally harder to