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Research Guides

Use Interviews for Research

Find Method Guides

Research Interview Methods

Methods can vary widely.  Different disciplines have adapted guidelines, terminology and practices for their field.  Below find the general research types with common interview methods.  Included are select VCU research examples.

Quantitative Research Interviews - Standardized Structure

  • Survey - data collection tool for gather information from a group of individuals. Data can be factual or opinions. Administration options includes structured interview or participant/respondent completing survey on their own.  

Qualitative Research Interviews - Conversational Structure

  • In-Depth- Interview (IDI) - Semi-structured or unstructured interviews of individuals, where the interview focuses on the experience of the interviewee/respondent. Interviewer knowledge and skill required.‚Äč
  • Ethnographic Interview / Ethnography - unbiased, informal, unstructured cross-cultural explorations of the moment to clarify local knowledge or gain an understanding of a culture of sub-culture. Observation and field notes add context to the interview process. 
  • Empathetic / Feminist - balances the power between the interviewer/interviewee, may be collaborative structure; interviewee may recognized bias for interview group; often used for gathering life experience and with sensitive topics
  • Postmodern Interview - interviewer co-constructs meaning of experiences the interviewee shares.  
    • Critical Interviewing - accounting for social, cultural, and economic influences reported by the interviewee
    • Active Interview
  • Focus / Delphi Group - semi-structured interview of a small group with shared experience or characteristic, with a facilitator; efficiently get consensus feedback on issues; may produce enriched data due to group dynamics
  • Oral History / Life Story - record and interpret firsthand testimony to an event or community, or to document personal life experience. 
  • Narrative Inquiry - gathering of stories focusing on the meanings that interviewees ascribe to their experiences