Chapter 30

Approaches to interviewing

Patricia Potts

Interviewers can adopt a wide variety of approaches, from the tightly structured to the very informal, depending upon what they see as their main task and the relevant characteristics of their interviewees. In this chapter, Patricia Potts argues that what can be learned from interviewing does not just depend upon the kinds of questions asked and the kinds of people interviewed, but also upon the nature of the social relationship, however apparently superficial, that develops between interviewer and interviewee. Further, because social relationships are never static, the information that an interviewer receives from a single interviewee will vary from occasion to occasion; the responses given ...

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