Research Methods for Information Research

2. Asking questions (and getting research answers)

2.4 Research interviews: testing the interview schedule

Test out the schedule in pilot interviews to screen out:

  • Questions that are difficult to ask (too many questions in one; sentences that are too long; tongue-twisters).
  • Questions that are difficult to answer (e.g. containing unfamiliar words or phrases; asking for generalisations or abstractions; hypothetical questions; asking busy operation staff about the allocation of their time).
  • Questions that invite distortion (leading questions carrying assumptions that the people interviewed may not share; asking respondents about the opinions or behaviour of other people).
  • Most of the principles outlined here also apply to questionnaire design.