Intensive interviews, or in-depth interviews, are essentially a hybrid of the one-on-one interview approach.
Intensive interviews are unique for these reasons:
· They generally use smaller samples.
· They provide detailed background about the reasons respondents give specific answers.
· They allow for lengthy observation of respondents' nonverbal responses respondents' opinions, values, motivations, recollections, experiences, and feelings are obtained.
· They are usually long. an intensive interview may last several hours and may take more than one session.
· In a personal interview, all respondents are usually asked the same questions. Intensive interviews allow interviewers to form questions based on each respondent's answers.
· The success of intensive interviews depends on the rapport established between the interviewer and the respondent.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Intensive Interviews
1. The most important advantage of the in-depth interview is the wealth of detail that it provides.
2. Intensive interviewing provides more accurate responses on sensitive issues.
3. The rapport between respondent and interviewer makes it easier to approach certain topics that might be taboo in other approaches.
1. Intensive interviewing is typically done with a nonrandom sample.
2. Since interviews are usually non-standardized, each respondent may answer a slightly different version of a question. In fact, it is likely that a particular respondent may answer questions not asked of any other respondent.
3. They are especially sensitive to interviewer bias. In a long interview, it is possible for a respondent to learn a good deal of information about the interviewer.
4. Despite practice and training, some interviewers may inadvertently (by unconsciously) communicate their attitudes through loaded questions, nonverbal cues, or tone of voice.
5. The effect of this on the validity of a respondent's answers is difficult to gauge.
6. Finally, intensive interviewing presents problems in data analysis.
· The problem definition, respondent recruiting, and data collection and analysis procedures for intensive interviews are similar to those used in personal interviews.
· The amount of data collected is tremendous, and analysis may take several weeks to several months.
· Interviewees may become tired and bored.
· Because of the time required, it is difficult to arrange intensive interviews, particularly for respondents who are professionals.
· Small samples do not allow for generalization to the target population.
Examples of Intensive Interviews
Harrington (2003) conducted intensive interviews with a dozen individuals familiar with the storylines on the soap opera All My Children concerning the series' portrayal of homosexuality. Phalen (2000) carried out two-hour interviews with 14 female managers at radio and television stations. The responses to her open-ended questions suggested that her respondents experienced bias against female managers and instances of sexual harassment. Lewis (2008) conducted intensive interviews with eight journalists who had either lost their jobs or were suspended due to plagiarism accusations. He found that part of the problem was the vague way that plagiarism was defined. These three studies illustrate the utility of the intensive interviewing technique when it comes to examining potentially sensitive issues.
Intensive Interviewing Online
The interviewer can post one or more questions, and the respondent can take as long as he or she likes to answer. The extra time can allow respondents to reflect about their answers and may provide the researcher with richer content and additional insights.
Another benefit is that interviews can be conducted with people over a wide geographic area, without travel expenses.
Finally, this method may be helpful in collecting data from people who might be uncomfortable in a face-to-face situation.
Weaknesses are associated with this technique.
First, it takes longer than a face-to-face session and generates less data.
The quality of the data is strongly influenced by the typing and reading skills of the respondent.
Intensive interviews can also be done in real-time using a web cam where the interviewer and respondent can see one another.
In addition, the interviewer can more easily ask follow-up questions.