"Interviews are conversations where the outcome is a coproduction of the interviewer and the interviewee" Kvale (1996).
There are a number of approaches to interviewing, which have in common the need to get perspectives on the evaluation targets from a sample of 'users' representing different stakeholder groups.
The standardised, open ended interview
Strength: makes sure questions are asked in the same way across a sample population by different interviewers.
Weakness: risk losing important, unanticipated, information.
The guided or structured interview
Strength: keeps interaction focused, covering same ground with respondent sets, while allowing individual experience to emerge.
Weakness: cannot divert far, or long, from agenda without losing part of 'the story'.
The informal, conversational interview
Strength: allows the evaluator to respond quickly to individual differences and situational changes.
Weakness: a great deal of time is needed to get systematic information.
Like Focus Groups, interviews can be useful for formative/developmental or summative/retrospective evaluation.
Resource Guide (info)
Preparation time: moderate to low
Student time: low
Time to administer: low
Time for analysis: moderate
Additional resources: none
University of Glasgow.