In-depth Interview for College/University Students

18.11.20 Interviews Time to read: 6min

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An in-depth interview is a research technique where an interviewer engages with a respondent concerning a particular subject to get a detailed exchange of information or find out the respondent’s views on the subject.

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FAQs: In-depth interview

Just consider the rule of saturation while doing qualitative data collection as there is no specific number of samples you need to do. Keep collecting data until you feel that all the respondents are repeating the information you have collected. That is when you stop.

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The most appropriate method that you can use for sampling in qualitative research is a non-probability form of sampling. This is because using random sampling won’t be best for generalizing results. You may also use purposive sampling.

While using a focus group to conduct your interview, the participants have less speaking time than if they were being interviewed on a personal level. The group setting mostly influences the information or responses gotten from a focus group and the quality of the information will depend on the strength of the moderator. In depth interviews focus more on an individual basis and the student will have the undivided attention of the interviewer and the subject at hand is usually explored into detail.

These in-depth interviews tend to be flexible whereby they can be presented in several ways. This means that you don’t have to follow a specific format. However, the methodology and the justification of the survey have to be included together with supporting documents. Data from the interview could be standalone or be all inclusive in a larger survey report.

There are two conditions that you can choose to take. Either take a maximum of forty interviews or do as many interviews as possible to the data saturation point.

Definition: In-depth interview

This is a qualitative research approach that entails conducting intensive interviews with a smaller percentage of respondents to explore their feelings or beliefs about an idea or situation. They come in different variations ranging from conversations done through semi-structured ways like interrogation and cross-examination.

When to conduct an in-depth interview

In-depth interviews are very instrumental in helping you gather detailed information regarding students’ thoughts on a particular subject. The interviews are mostly done to shade more light on an issue on what happened and why it happened.

For instance, there has been an increase in the use of drugs in the campus compound. Through in-depth interview, you find out college students have been using drugs because most of them are going through so many challenges and you also find out that they have been buying the drugs from one of the campus hostels.

You can conduct in depth interviews through the following steps:

  • Planning : Identify the students that you will involve in your interview. Find out the information that you need from them.
  • Develop instruments : Come up with rules that will guide the implementation of the interviews. These rules will help you ensure consistency between the interviews. Come up with instructions on what to say to the interviewees as you set up the interview, some of the things to tell the interviewees at the begin and at the end of the interview and also the do’s and donts’ during the interview.
  • Train interviewees : Train the interviewees on how to answer questions and take them through the interview questions so that they can familiarise themselves with the questions and be comfortable during the interview.
  • Data collection : Set up the interviews with the college students to make them understand the goal of the interviews and explain why they have been chosen. Seek the consent of the student that you intend to interview through a written document. Once the student has agreed to do the interview, then you may proceed to conduct it. Summarize important data after the interview and very the information as necessary.
  • Data analysis : Go through the responses and find patterns among the participants. If you find several patterns, find a way to group these patterns in a meaningful way. Try and identify responses that the interviewee gave with enthusiasm compared to those answered in a few words.
  • Come up with findings : Write a report after you conclude the interview and try to get feedback from interviewees.
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Advantages and disadvantages

In depth Interview-Advantages

In-depth interviews provide detailed information compared to other data collection techniques like survey research.

These interviews also provide a kind of relaxed atmosphere for collecting information in which the interviewees will feel more comfortable participating in the interview.

In depth Interview-disadvantages

Can be biased: The interviewees might give biased responses to favor themselves. Students will always tend to give information that works in their favor, it’s advisable to put more effort into the interview set up to minimize biasness.

Time consuming: Interviews can be time-consuming in terms of preparation, execution and analysis. While planning the interview its good if you include time for analysis of the detailed data.

The interviewer must be well trained: To get detailed information from the students, the interviewer must possess effective interview skills like avoiding yes/no or somewhat leading questions. They also need to make the students feel comfortable and at the same time look interested in whatever they are saying. Furthermore, they also need to use appropriate body language and keep their opinions in line.

Not generalisable: When conducting in-depth interviews, generalizing the results is impossible because the findings are usually based on a small sample size chosen randomly. In depths are frequently used when supplementing other sources of information. This means that these interviews are not reliable when collecting information from a large sample size.

In a Nutshell

  • In-depth interviews provide a medium through which the college students being interviewed can talk about their college social experiences.
  • In-depth interviews do not begin with tough questions but aim to explore the student’s world and learn about their experiences.
  • In-depth interviews are restricted to the interviewee’s verbal respondents and the information got cannot be matched with the interviewer’s behavior.
  • In-depth interviews are prone to disruption of the natural context. When the interview location changes, the process of also interviewing changes and this may end up affecting the interviewer’s responses.
  • In-depth interviewing may provide the basis for detailed information, whereby the interviewer is less involved in the interview.
  • There is a limit to the number of interviews that an interviewer can conduct and the number of follow-ups that can be done. In depth interviews rely mostly on the verbal responses and cooperation of the student being interviewed.
  • In-depth interviews are more reliable when conducting small scale research but it will prove challenging when carrying out large scale research.