Interviews were once thought to be the pipeline through which information was transmitted from a passive subject to an omniscient researcher. However the new `active interview' considers interviewers and interviewees as equal partners in constructing meaning around an interview. This interpretation changes a range of elements in the interview process - from the way of conceiving a sample to the ways in which the interview may be conducted and the results analyzed. In this guide, the authors outline the differences between active interviews and traditional interviews and give novice researchers clear guidelines on conducting a successful interview.

The Active Interview in Perspective

Interviews vary in several important ways. C. A. Moser (1958), for example, distinguishes them along a functional continuum. At one end, he places interviews whose purpose is to interrogate, help, educate, or evaluate respondents—as in employment interviews or police investigations. Such ...

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