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Publication Date: January 2010
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Step 3: Collect New Data
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Step 3: Collect New Data

Interviews

Using a structured set of questions, you can conduct interviews in person or over the telephone. Face-to-face interviews allow you to observe a respondent’s nonverbal communication, which can help shape the direction of the interview. Telephone interviews can be useful when time, travel, and budget limitations prevent meeting in person.

Here are some tips for conducting an interview:

  • Talk slowly with a moderate tone. A measured pace and tone will facilitate the flow of information to and from respondents.
  • Keep the discussion focused. Because the time available for each question is limited, focus on the topic at hand. Be willing and able to rein in the conversation if it goes astray.
  • Use silence to allow for elaboration. Allowing for pauses will give respondents an opportunity to formulate their thoughts on a topic, think of additional information, and transition from one question to the next.
  • Probe for clarification. Answers to questions are not always direct and may require clarification or followup. Steer the respondent toward the issue at hand.