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9.2: Interview Survey
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Role of interviewer
- Prepare for the interview: Since the interviewer is in the forefront of the data collection effort, the quality of data collected depends heavily on how well the interviewer is trained to do the job. The interviewer must be trained in the interview process and the survey method, and also be familiar with the purpose of the study, how responses will be stored and used, and sources of interviewer bias. He/she should also rehearse and time the interview prior to the formal study.
- Locate and enlist the cooperation of respondents: Particularly in personal, in-home surveys, the interviewer must locate specific addresses, and work around respondents’ schedule sometimes at undesirable times such as during weekends. They should also be like a salesperson, selling the idea of participating in the study.
- Motivate respondents: Respondents often feed off the motivation of the interviewer. If the interviewer is disinterested or inattentive, respondents won’t be motivated to provide useful or informative responses either. The interviewer must demonstrate enthusiasm about the study, communicate the importance of the research to respondents, and be attentive to respondents’ needs throughout the interview.
- Clarify any confusion or concerns: Interviewers must be able to think on their feet and address unanticipated concerns or objections raised by respondents to the respondents’ satisfaction. Additionally, they should ask probing questions as necessary even if such questions are not in the script.
- Observe quality of response: The interviewer is in the best position to judge the quality of information collected, and may supplement responses obtained using personal observations of gestures or body language as appropriate.