Structured interview

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A structured interview (also known as a standardized interview or a researcher-administered survey) is a quantitative research method commonly employed in survey research. The aim of this approach is to ensure that each interview is presented with exactly the same questions in the same order. This ensures that answers can be reliably aggregated and that comparisons can be made with confidence between sample sub groups or between different survey periods.


Structured interviews are a means of collecting data for a statistical survey. In this case, the data is collected by an interviewer rather than through a self-administered questionnaire. Interviewers read the questions exactly as they appear on the survey questionnaire. The choice of answers to the questions is often fixed (close-ended) in advance, though open-ended questions can also be included within a structured interview.

A structured interview also standardises the order in which questions are asked of survey respondents, so the questions are always answered within the same context. This is important for minimising the impact of context effects, where the answers given to a survey question can depend on the nature of preceding questions. Though context effects can never be avoided, it is often desirable to hold them constant across all respondents. By doing so, structured interviews often have increased validity.[1]

Other uses[edit]

Qualitative research[edit]

Structured interviews can also be used as a qualitative research methodology.[2][3] For structured qualitative interviews, it is usually necessary for researchers to develop an interview schedule which lists the wording and sequencing of questions.[4] Interview schedules are sometimes considered a means by which researchers can increase the reliability and credibility of research data.[5]


Structured interviews have been advocated for use in the hiring process as well,[6] . Structured interviews have been found to provide better hiring decisions as they are more accurate and objective.[7] The United States Postal Service uses structured interviews for at least some of its hiring, and has printed a guide to structured interviews that is publicly available online. Also Google started them too after data-driven research found it to be beneficial over more common unstructured interviews.[8][9]


  1. ^ Blackman, Melinda C.; Funder, David C. (2002). "Effective Interview Practices for Accurately Assessing Counterproductive Traits". International Journal of Selection and Assessment. 10 (1&2): 109–116. doi:10.1111/1468-2389.00197. ISSN 0965-075X.
  2. ^ Kvale & Brinkman. 2008. InterViews, 2nd Edition. Thousand Oaks: SAGE. ISBN 978-0-7619-2542-2
  3. ^ Lindlof & Taylor. 2002. Qualitative Communication Research Methods, 2nd Edition. Thousand Oaks: SAGE. ISBN 978-0-7619-2494-4
  4. ^ Patton. 1991. Qualitative Research & Evaluation Methods, 3rd Edition. Thousand Oaks: SAGE. ISBN 978-0-7619-1971-1
  5. ^ Lindlof & Taylor. 2002. Qualitative Communication Research Methods, 2nd Edition. Thousand Oaks: SAGE. ISBN 978-0-7619-2494-4
  6. ^ "The New-Boy Network Archived 2012-07-28 at the Wayback Machine", Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker, May 29, 2000
  7. ^ Dept of Psych EDI committee, McGill University. "Structured vs. Unstructured Interview: Improving Accuracy & Objectivity" (PDF). McGill University Department of Psychology.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ "How we hire".
  9. ^ "Read Google's internal research".