Provided that I am using an informal interview as a research technique, I would have to decrease the sample size because any unstructured interview, which does not involve questionnaires, is always more time-consuming than a survey. Thus, I will be able to interview a small number of respondents.
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First, I will need to ask them what kind of media they usually use on a daily basis. Secondly, I will need to inquire about their media preferences. In other words, I will ask them what type of media they normally prefer and for what purpose. This will enable me to see the correlation between the type of person and media use.
I need to say that this question does not refer to a specific news agency like CNN, BBC or Reuters. I should say that in this context the word media refers to a way or method of communicating information to the public, for example, television, radio, Internet, print etc.
An interviewer must say that in this case the term media denotes not only a form of entertainment such as video games, music, or movies. It should be understood as a means of finding and sharing information.
The interviewee can misunderstand this question because from his/her standpoint, it may refer to a specific news agency, form of entertainment, or even a website. It can be rephrased in the following way. “What kind of media do you usually use and for what purpose? I mean television, Internet, print, radio”.
First of all, I need to explain to the informant the purpose of all these questions. I must also assure him/her that this interview will not take long, as in the majority of cases people are reluctant to spend much time on such interviews. Finally, I will need to tell the respondent that his/her answers will remain confidential and will not be disclosed to anyone. In this way, I will be able to establish rapport with an interviewee, which is very important. Without trust, the informant will either refuse to answer the questions or be insincere in his responses. Subsequently, this will undermine the reliability of the entire research.
For this purpose, an interviewer should take a tape recorder or if it is possible a video camera. These precautions can safeguard him against any inaccuracies.
An informal interview is advantageous because a researcher is able to ask follow-up questions and clarify those ones, which can be misunderstood by the respondent. However, an interviewer can either misinterpret or mishear the words of the respondent. Besides, an informal interview usually takes much more time than a structured one. In its turn, a structured interview is beneficial because it leaves no room of misinterpretation or bias of the researcher. However, in such scenario, the interviewer is not able to clarify the informant’s responses.
In order to code this information, we must first classify our respondents. In this case, we have two classes: professors and students. Secondly, we need to divide their answers into categories and sub-categories. The first category will be the type of media (Internet, newspapers, television). The second category will be the usage of media or the purpose such as entertainment, learning or communication. This classification will enable us to present the responses in table format or in the form of diagram.
Interview as a research method is useful for examining people’s opinions, feelings, emotions, attitudes toward a certain phenomenon. It is arguably the most suitable technique for such task. However, it has several drawbacks. First, as it has been mentioned, it is time-consuming and consequently, the sampling size is relatively small. Most importantly, we must not forget that it leaves a leeway for biased interpretation of findings. For instance, during an interview, a researcher may ask closed questions, which lead or even force a respondent to a certain answer.