How do structured interviews differ from unstructured

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Kyoto Midtown is a composite urban district of modern buildings surrounding a historic Japanese garden. It features sophisticated bars, restaurants, shops, art galleries, a hotel and leafy public spaces. Kyoto Midtown aims to offer a unique shopping experience with a broad selection of outlets that include Japan's first flagship boutique and the world's first concept shops. From playful and trendsetting boutiques to prestigious brands valued the world over, it aspires to be a place for people who appreciate the finer things in life.

In the past few years however, visitor numbers have declined. For this reason, the management of Kyoto Midtown shopping centre feels that it is important to develop a better understanding of its shoppers in order to take the shopping experience to a next level. It wants to know what attracts customers to its stores, what customers need while shopping and how they go about shopping. Based on these insights, it wants to develop strategies that are closely aligned with its customers' shopping strategies, needs and preferences.

The management of the shopping centre has hired Hoshimi Kusunoki, an international full-time MBA student to produce a report complete with practical, hands-on recommendations ready for implementation. Born and raised in an upper class family in Yamanote, Hoshimi is familiar with the lifestyle and attitudes of people visiting the Kyoto Midtown shopping center and the high expectations that they have.

A key aim of Hoshimi's research project is to find out what shoppers would need to increase the frequency of shopping at the centre as well as to understand how it compares to other shopping centres in Kyoto competing for customers. Based on preliminary research, Hoshimi has been able to develop the following specific project objectives:

• To establish the profile of shoppers
• To understand their awareness and usage of the Midtown Shopping centre
• To understand how shoppers travel to the shopping centre, how far they have travelled and how frequently they shop there
• To explore shopper behavior and understand what they have purchased or had expected to
purchase and average expenditure
• To understand their expectations to the Midtown shopping centre
• To understand their attitudes to the Midtown shopping centre

Hoshimi wants to conduct structured face to face interviews with 100 shoppers at the shopping centre and a competing shopping centre. The interviews will take place during the key shopping hours across every day of the week among a representative sample of participants.


1. Hoshimi has planned to carry out structured interviews. How do structured interviews differ from unstructured interviews? Which would be more appropriate for this study and why?

2. What are the possible advantages and disadvantages of using face to face interviews in this situation?

3. The information obtained during interviews should be as free as possible from bias. How can Hoshimi minimize bias introduced by the interviewer, the interviewee, or the situation?

4. What advice would you give Hoshimi regarding the selection of participants for her interviews?

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