Characteristic - Interview methods:
Interviewing as a method of data collection has certain characteristics. They are:
1. The participants the interviewer and the respondent are strangers. Hence the investigator has to get himself introduced to the respondent in an appropriate manner.
2. The relationship between the participants is a transitory one. It has a fixed beginning and termination points. The interview proper is a fleeting momentary experience for them.
3. Interview is not a mere casual conversational exchange but a conversation with a specific purpose viz,, obtaining information relevant to a study.
4. Interview is a mode of obtaining verbal answers to questions put verbally.
5. The interaction between the interviewer and the respondent need not necessarily be on a face to face basis because interview can be conducted over the telephone also.
6. Although interview is usually a conversation between two persons. It need not be limited to a single respondent. It can also be conducted with a group of persons. Such as family members or a group of children or a group of customers, depending on the requirements of the study.
7. Interview is an interactional process. The interaction between the interviewer and the respondent depends upon how they perceive each other. The respondent reacts to the interviewers appearance behaviour gestures facial expression and intonation his perception of the thrust of the question and his own personal needs. As far as possible the interviewer should try to be closer to the socio economic level of the respondents. Moreover he should realize that his respondents are under no obligation to extend response. He should therefore be tactful and be alert to such reactions of the respondents as lame excuse suspicion reluctance or indifference and deal with them suitably. He should not also argue or dispute. He should rather maintain an impartial and objective attitude.
8. Information furnished by the respondent in the interview is recorded by the investigator. This poses a problem of seeing that recording does not interfere with the tempo of conversation.
9. Interviewing is not a standardized process like that of a chemical technician. It is rather a flexible psychological process.
The implication of this feature is that the interviewer cannot apply unvarying standardized technique because he is dealing with respondents with varying motives and diverse perceptions. The extent of his success as an interviewer is very largely dependent upon his insight and skill in dealing with varying socio psychological situations.