Guidelines to Structure Interview Questions for Qualitative Research

A scientific method to gather the non-numerical data for a research paper is known as qualitative research. There are different methods to gather data for qualitative research. Some essential methods to gather the data for qualitative research are individual interviews, focus group, observations, and action research. This article by The Academic Papers UK, is a comprehensive guide on the interview question, the types, a template, and examples can be useful for you if you are looking for expert advice.

If you are going to gather the data for qualitative research by adopting a method of individual interview, you will have to structure the interview questions. No doubt, to structure the interview questions is a real problem for the students.

Interview structure types

An interview provides a chance to a researcher to gather enough information about a specific topic by conducting an interview from a group of respondents. On the basis of the desired detail of the information, there are different types of interview structure types. Some of them are explained below;

  • Structured interview

It is an essential research tool that provides a little scope to the respondents to obtain and analyze the results. The approach of a structured interview is quantitative. By keeping in mind the required information, the questions of this interview are pre-determined. Mostly, this type of interview is used in survey research. The questions of this interview can be closed-ended or open-ended by keeping in mind the target audience. The aim of the closed-ended questions is to get the answers to the interview questions according to the preferences of the respondents.

On the other hand, the aim of the open-ended questions is to get enough detail about a particular section of the interview. There are lots of advantages of conducting such kind of interview like it allows the researchers to get accurate responses to interview questions, it allows the researchers to get access to a wide variety of audience and it creates a formal relationship between the researchers and respondents. There are also some disadvantages of this kind of interview technique like it provides limited scope to the respondents to obtain the results, it forces the respondents to provide specific information and it is a time-taking task.

  • Semi-structured interview

A semi-structured interview is a guided conversation between the respondents and interviewer. The researchers can get appropriate flexibility while conducting this kind of interview. Instead of the structure of the interviewer, the researchers can also take advantage of their own ideas and creativity while conducting the interview. When a researcher wants to get a lot of information about a particular topic in a limited amount of time, this kind of interviewing technique is the best technique for the researchers.

There are many advantages of this interview like it provides enough time to the researchers to prepare and analyze the interview questions, it allows the researchers to show flexibility while maintaining the guidelines of the interview and the structure of this interview is also flexible.

The main disadvantage of this interview technique is that when flexibility is offered, the researchers are not able to get reliable data.

  • Unstructured interview

An unstructured interview is an in-depth interview. An unstructured interview provides enough data to the researchers about the research study. The unstructured interviews provide a chance for the researchers to build a bond between the respondents. Due to this bond, there is a possibility that the respondents will provide 100% genuine information to the researchers.

There are no guidelines to conduct this kind of interview, therefore, the researchers keep such an approach which is necessary for them to maintain the main motive of the research.

The main advantage of this interview is that it is conducted by keeping in mind all the permissible limits of the research. The main disadvantage of this interview is that due to the lack of structure, the researchers take more time to conduct this kind of interview.

  • Structured oral interview

There are some skills and abilities of the respondents that are not accessed through the written paper. In order to get an idea about these skills and abilities of the respondents, a structured oral interview is designed. The questions of a structured oral interview cover a wide range of topics and it is easy for the researchers to make some decisions after conducting this interview.

Some essential tips to structure interview questions for qualitative research are given below;

Interview structure template

The main aim of conducting an interview is to gather useful information from the respondents. It is possible only if you follow the correct template while structuring the interview questions. There are five main parts of the template of an interview structure.

  1. First of all, you should develop some questions to gather enough information about the interviewer.
  2. Secondly, you should try to introduce your topic to the respondents. For this reason, it is also necessary for you to design some questions.
  3. Thirdly, you should design the main questions of the interview.
  4. Fourthly, you should ask some questions from the respondents about their skills.
  5. At last, you will have to design some concluding questions.

Examples of structured interview questions for research

There are some students who don’t know how to prepare questions for the structured interview. They can get an idea about the structured interview questions by seeing these examples;

  • What’s the mission of your company?
  • Who are the competitors of your company and what are some essential strategies to compete with them?
  • How you get success in your field?
  • How one can get success in the field of business?
  • What are the necessary skills and abilities to get success in this field?
  • What is the importance of leadership skills in this field?
  • How much time is required to become a successful businessman?
  • What is the ethical dilemma that you have faced at your workplace?

Interview questions structure

There is a specific structure of the interview questions. First of all, you should lead the interview with the help of the general questions. After that, you should follow the interview with experience questions. Thirdly, you should prepare such questions that can reflect the behavior of the respondents.

Structured situational interview

Such questions that can be used for all the candidates are known as structured situational interview questions. These questions are open-ended and these questions give an invitation to the candidates to explain, elaborate and describe significant details about a specific topic. These questions usually begun with some phrases.

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I am Chief Executive Officer at The Academic Papers UK