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Interview Logistics

In the case of in-depth interviews, our experience has been that phone interviews are preferable for the following reasons:

  • It is better use of available resources (i.e. minimal set-up costs and travel incurred, easier to schedule, etc.).
  • Telephone interviews allow for more focused conversation.
  • There are fewer distractions if the interviewee is using a phone where he/she can have privacy and feels comfortable.
  • A "faceless" interview may be less intimidating. The telephone is often a neutral vehicle for communication.
  • The interview can be terminated easily if it is not going well or if you feel enough information has been gathered.
  • It is an advantage to have two researchers at the telephone interview due to the subjective nature of the information gathered and the amount of information conveyed by the interviewee in such a compressed amount of time.
  • If the interview is being conducted by phone, a speaker phone will be needed. One person should primarily be the interviewer, but both should take notes. The second person may ask questions towards the end of the interview if it does not disrupt the synergy and thought-flow that has been established. The second person's primary role, though, is to listen and help take notes.
  • After the interview, both interviewer and observer can compare notes to make sure that most, if not all, elements of the story were heard and interpreted. The real value of having more than one person listen to the interview is to get a broader identification of needs. The process of identification is more productive and creative when done with others.

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