Encyclopedia Entry

Face-to-Face Interviewing

Isaac Dialsingh

The face-to-face interview, also called an in-person interview, is probably the most popular and oldest form of survey data collection. It has continued to be the best form of data collection when one wants to minimize nonresponse and maximize the quality of the data collected. Face-to-face interviews are often used to solicit information in projects that can be considered to be very sensitive, for example, data collection on sexual behaviors. This entry describes the advantages and disadvantages of face-to-face interviewing along with basic operational considerations for successful interviews. By far, the main advantage of the face-to-face interview is the presence of the interviewer, which makes it easier for the respondent to either clarify answers or ask for clarification for some of the items on the questionnaire. Sometimes, interviewers can use visual aids (e.g. so-called show cards) to assist respondents in making a decision or choice. Properly trained interviewers are always ...

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