A interview It is an exchange of opinions or ideas on a certain topic. It occurs between two or more people through a conversation. For example: Televised interview with Jorge Luis Borges, Graphic interview with Tulio Halperín Donghi.
This conversation is not a casual dialogue but there is a prior agreement between the participants and well-defined objectives are established. In every interview, two roles are identified:
- Interviewer. Drive the conversation from start to finish. Establish the topic (s) to be addressed. Its objective is to collect data, opinions, information or insights.
- Interviewed. Answer the questions voluntarily.
Characteristics of the interviews
- It is a tool to collect specific information. It is used in various disciplines. For example: journalism, psychology, sociology, medicine, anthropology, ethnology.
- It can be individual or group.
- It has a method or structure according to its objectives.
- Direct speech and subjectivity predominate.
- It can be done in person, by telephone, in writing, digital, radio or audiovisual.
Types of interviews
Structured interview. The questions are prepared before the conversation takes place and are directed to a specific person, who responds promptly to what is asked. Due to its closed dynamics, the interviewee cannot ask spontaneous questions, but must limit himself to the previously prepared questionnaire.
- The interviewer does not need experience and training, he just follows the questionnaire.
- Facilitates the interpretation of the data.
- Allows comparative analysis.
- It carries limitations when delving into an issue that arises in the conversation.
- Dialogue doesn’t flow naturally.
Unstructured or free interview. Beyond the fact that these interviews have a specific objective, the interviewer can improvise and elaborate questions based on the answers of the interviewee, that is, he is not limited to a specific questionnaire and it is he himself who elaborates the questions.
- The freedom that the interviewer possesses promotes a relaxed atmosphere that facilitates the deepening of certain topics through cross-examination.
- The relaxed atmosphere means that the interviewee does not feel pressured when answering, but rather takes his time to develop his ideas.
- Open and free interaction makes it easy to clear up any doubts that arise during the conversation.
- Subjectivity and interviewer bias cannot be avoided. This usually influences the responses of the interviewee.
- It does not enable standardization because there is no single questionnaire for all interviewees.
- The data obtained is qualitative, which makes analysis and comparison difficult.
- They require more time for their elaboration and evaluation.
- The information obtained can be unreliable because the interviewees tend to adapt to the behaviors that they consider “socially desirable” and to hide those that are not.
- They are made by experts. This implies more training and preparation on the part of the interviewer so that the performance is adequate.
- Shy or introverted people don’t tend to elaborate on this tool.
Examples of interviews
- Journalistic interview. It is a genre within journalism. The journalist elaborates the questions around a topic or issue of social interest or current affairs. They can be audiovisual, radio or written. They may be:
- Opinion. The interviewee is a specialized or prominent person in a specific field and seeks to know their position on a specific topic of public interest.
- Current. The interviewee (s) may be a witness to a news event or an expert on a current issue.
- Of personality. Its writing intersperses the responses of the interviewee with anecdotes that occurred during the conversation. For example: gestures, place, clothing. The objective of this conversation is to capture a portrait of the interviewee.
- Biographical. The questions aim to know the different edges of the interviewee, beyond his career. They usually include questions about the interviewee’s personal history, tastes, or interests.
- Clinical interview. It is a dialogue for therapeutic purposes that takes place between a doctor and his patient to learn about the symptoms and problems that he is going through. It makes it possible to hypothesize the possible reasons for the symptoms and establish an appropriate treatment.
- Work interview. It is an instrument for recruiting personnel. Its objective is to gather more detailed and in-depth information about the candidate. It allows the interviewer to know the capabilities of the interviewee; value his attitude and get to know him personally.
- Research interview. It is one of the tools that the social sciences use to develop an investigation. It allows to acquire undocumented information or to know the perception and way of thinking of the witnesses of the object to be studied.
- Psychological interview. It is the tool that allows to detect the psychological suffering of a patient. The expert investigates, diagnoses and establishes the appropriate therapy for the patient from this conversation.