Method - Semi-structured interviews

Description

Semi-structured interviews is a method to collect information on stakeholders perspectives and interests and the context by asking questions. A semi-structured interview entails open and closed questions. This approach provides reliable, comparable and qualitative data on stakeholders’ roles, interests, perceptions, their problems, issues they have and challenges they see (Reed et al. 2009; Hermans, 2005).

Purpose

to collect information on the context, the interest and perspectives of the stakeholders and the different stakeholder roles.

Guidance on performing this method

  • Preparation interview
    • Define who to interview and who will conduct the interviews. Interviewer should have interview skills.
    • Make an interview protocol, i.e. formulate introduction and interview questions on specific topics and structure the interview
    • Decide on face-to-face interviews or on the telephone
    • Plan the interviews by inviting the interviewees
  • Conduct interview
    • Take into account the interview time and the travel time for you or interviewee
    • Make notes during the interview and/or choose to record the interview
  • Write an interview report and ask for verification of the interviewee
  • Analyse the interview report and based on this information stakeholders can be identified.

Strengths

  • It is useful for in-depth insights in stakeholders interests and position, to stakeholder relationships and to triangulate data collected in focus groups
  • It can be used when there are conflicting interests of stakeholders
  • It is a flexible method both for interviewee and interviewer. An interview with open questions gives space for new ideas things to share.
  • It helps to have a good understanding of the different stakeholders and who to select for further stakeholder engagement and involvement.
  • It is also a way to start building a relationship with stakeholders.

Weaknesses

  • It is a time-consuming (for the interviewer and interviewees), hence costly method.
  • It can be a challenge to reach consensus over stakeholder categories.

Sources

References to be fully worked out (Tara)

  1. Reed et al. 2009;
  2. Hermans, 2005

Further reading