Shirley Magilton argues that face-to-face interviews encourage people to talk more openly
It’s not unusual, when you’re on your way to a qualitative face-to-face interview, to wonder if it could have just been done by phone.
Telephone interviews are certainly a crucial qualitative method.
- They can be conducted safely from a warm office without wearing out your shoe leather.
- From a resource perspective, they’re cheaper and can be planned around other tasks.
- And, if an interviewee doesn’t answer the phone, the time can be usefully apportioned to something else.
It may sound like phone interviews win hands down.
But qualitative interviews are about exploring the experience of the interviewee and an interviewer has just an hour (or less) to gather vital information.
I’ve spent over a decade undertaking face-to-face and phone interviews, and want to share my thoughts on why wearing out that shoe leather can be so valuable.
As I joined the NSPCC recently, these reflections are based on my work with other organisations.