Overview: The Five Ws—Who? What? When? Where? Why?

A n in-person interview is a purposeful conversation between participants who are physically in the same place. Interviewer and respondent are present to one another in ways that are not possible in telephone-administered, computer-administered, or self-administered surveys. In-person interviewing, also called face-to-face or personal interviewing , takes many forms and has many uses. Reporters interview people to gain information for news stories. Doctors interview patients to gather clues to help make diagnoses. Employers interview job applicants to determine whether applicants’ skills fit the duties of the jobs they hope to fill. All of these interviewers (reporters, doctors, employers) are collecting information for particular purposes. Survey interviewers also collect information for particular purposes, purposes that are determined by the research questions posed during the design of the survey projects of which they are a part. As will become clear through the discussion in this book, however, the survey interviewer's task is ...

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