Interview (research)

An interview in qualitative research is a conversation where questions are asked to elicit information. The interviewer is usually a professional or paid researcher, sometimes trained, who poses questions to the interviewee, in an alternating series of usually brief questions and answers. They can be contrasted with focus groups in which an interviewer questions a group of people and observes the resulting conversation between interviewees, or surveys which are more anonymous and limit respondents to a range of predetermined answer choices. In addition, there are special considerations when interviewing children. In phenomenological or ethnographic research, interviews are used to uncover the meanings of central themes in the life world of the subjects from their own point of view.

Journalist Marguerite Martyn of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch made this sketch of herself interviewing a Methodist minister in 1908 for his views on marriage.