Preparing for the Interview
? Choose a setting with little distraction. Avoid bright lights or loud noises, make sure that the interviewee is comfortable, and so on.
? Explain the purpose of the interview.
? Address terms of confidentiality. Explain who will be allowed access to the respondent's answers and how their answers will be analyzed.
? Explain the format of the interview. Explain the type of interview you are conducting and its nature. If you want the respondent to ask questions, specify whether they are to do so as the questions occur to them or wait until the end of the interview.
? Indicate how long the interview will take.
? Tell the respondent how to get in touch with you later if they want to.
? Ask the respondent if they have any questions before the start of the interview.
? Don't rely on your memory to recall the respondent's answers. Ask for permission to record the interview or have someone else present to take notes, or take notes yourself.
Carrying Out the Interview
? From time to time, check that the tape recorder (if used) is working.
? Ask one question at a time.
? Attempt to remain as neutral as possible—don't display strong emotional reactions to their responses.
? Encourage responses with occasional nods of the head, "uh huhs," and so on.
? Be careful about the impression conveyed when taking notes. If you jump to take a note, it might seem as if you're surprised or very pleased about an answer, which might influence answers to future questions.
? Provide a transition between major topics—for example, "We've been talking about … and now I'd like to move on to…."
? Don't lose control of the interview. This can occur when a respondent strays to another topic, takes so long to answer a question that time begins to run out, or even begins asking the interviewer questions.
Immediately After the Interview
? Check that the tape recorder (if used) worked throughout the interview.
? Go over your written notes—for example, clarify any semi-illegible words, ensure that the pages are numbered, fill out any notes that don't make sense, and so on.
? Write down any observations made during the interview. For example, where did the interview take place and when? Was the respondent particularly nervous at any point? Were there any surprises during the interview?