Successful interviewing is an art and should not be treated as a mechanical process
Each interview is a new source of information, so make it interesting and pleasant. The interviewer and the respondent are strangers to each other and one of the main tasks of an interviewer is to establish rapport.
Make a good first impression Make the person feel at ease SMILE Begin with the words written at the top of the household questionnaire
Always have a positive approach DO SAY: –I would like to ask you a few questions. –I would like to talk with you for a few moments. Do NOT say: (too apologetic) –Are you too busy? –Would you share a few minutes? –Would you mind answering some questions?
Stress Confidentiality of Responses when Necessary If the respondent is hesitant or asks what the data will be used for, explain that all the information is confidential No individual names will be used All information is pooled for the report Never mention other interviewers or show completed questionnaires to other interviewers Do not show completed questionnaires to supervisors in front of other people in the community
Answer Any Question from the Respondent Frankly Be direct and pleasant when answering questions Give a realistic estimate of the time the interview will take Be willing to return to the household at another more convenient time - hopefully that same day Feel free to answer questions before and after the interview
Be Neutral Be neutral in your expression and tone of voice Never approve or disapprove of an answer Probe in a neutral way: –Can you explain a little more? –I did not quite hear you, could you tell me again? –There is no hurry. Take a moment to think about it.
Never Suggest Answers to the Respondent Never read the list of coded answers to the respondent even if she has trouble answering Do not reinterpret a response: do NOT say “I suppose you mean that... Is that right?” Often times the person will agree even if that is not what they meant
Read the questions as written The wording and sequence of the questions must be maintained. If someone misunderstands, repeat the question slowly and clearly. If they do not understand again, carefully reword the question - do not alter the meaning.
Handle Hesitant Respondents Tactfully What do you do when someone says: –“I don’t know” to every question, gives irrelevant answers, acts bored or detached, contradicts themselves or refuses to answer Listen to answers - if they are irrelevant, steer the person back to the survey questions Act friendly, sympathetic and responsive Maybe try to find a more private place If you have tried everything, write REFUSED on the question and keep going with the next part. Try to go back at the end of the questionnaire
Do Not Form Expectations Always behave and speak in a way that puts the person at ease so that they are comfortable talking with you.
Do not Hurry Ask the questions slowly so that the person understands. After asking the question, pause and give the person time to think. Feel free to say, “There is no hurry. Your opinion is very important so consider your answers carefully.”
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