Interviews -- Finding out what others feel and think
U of Michigan
Interviews are an important an important tool for gathering information about:
What the worker does
Why the worker does it
How the worker does it
Problems & concerns about the job
Group dynamics -- one response often stimulates another
Collective wisdom -- or bias
Require moderation & guidance to keep group on track
There is a style for every need and budget
General guidelines for interviews
The interviewer should explain the purpose of the interview.
The interviewer should include a list of all topics to be included in the interview.
The interviewer should be careful not to ask leading questions. For example, rather than ask, “Isn’t it hard to use this tool?” the user might be asked “What do you like and dislike about the tool?”
It is often helpful to summarize what the interviewee has said.
It may be necessary to steer the interview to keep the interviewee focused on the reason for the interview.
The interviewee’s confidentiality should be preserved.
Recording devices are often helpful, but need to be used carefully.
McCormick E. Job and Task Analysis, Ch 2.4, in Salvendy G. Handbook of Industrial Engineering, New York: John Wiley (1982), pp. 2.4.4-2.4.6
S Boslaugh S, Watters P. Statistics in a nutshell . Sebastopol, CA: OReilly Media, 2008, p. 17)
Fontana A, Frey JH. The interview.
The Sage handbook of qualitative research.
Rankings v. Ratings
Rating: A= 9/10; B=1/10
Visual Analogue Scale
Figure 1: Likert scales are used to quantify a workers agreement with a statement.
Figure 2: Visual Analogue scales consist of a 10 cm line with verbal anchor points at each end. The score is detemine by drawing a vertical line through the scale. Additional anchor points may be added from more gradations.
Confidentiality of interview data
Release of information obtained from interview could have adverse consequences for interview.
Information should be released only in aggregated from in which individuals cannot be identified.
Essential to obtaining interviewees' trust and obtaining useful information.
Must be made clear before beginning interview.