Main page






Site Map

Application 1
Application 2
Application 3
Application 4
Application 5
Application 6
Application 7

Module 1
Module 2
Module 3
Module 4
Module 5
Module 6
Module 7

            Conducting the Information Interview

Application 1: Determining the purpose

2 people thinking about purpose

Stage 1 in the information interview is determining the purpose.

Read the interview below. What could the researcher say in the beginning to clarify the purpose? How does the project manager contribute to the confusion? What would you do differently as interviewer? Interviewee?

Researcher: So you're a project manager here at High Tech Corp.?

Project Manager: Yes.

Researcher: I'm here to ask you some questions about what you do here.

Project Manager: Okay. (Looks at watch.)

Researcher: Let me set my tape recorder on your desk. Where's the nearest outlet?

Project Manager: You're taping this interview?

Researcher: Yeah, I tape all my interviews. I already cleared it with your supervisor.

Project Manager: Oh, okay.

Researcher: First question: What do you do here?

Project Manager: I'm the project manager for high-end website development.

Researcher: What did you do before that?

Project Manager: I worked for another high tech company as a graphics designer. Prior to that, I worked as a freelance graphics designer while I was getting my MBA at the local state university. I've always enjoyed creating things, so I do illustrations as well as graphics. You've probably seen my work in Wired, Horticulture, and the local newspaper. I've also done catalog work for companies such as Lands' End and was instrumental in starting the magalog or catazine trend. Then I started doing website development, and really found my calling. I probably could be at a better place than High Tech, making more money, but the work here is pretty easy. Not that it hasn't been difficult getting here. . .

Researcher: (Interrupting) Oh, ah, what I wanted to know was if you worked in any other job for High Tech Corp.

Project Manager: I did some contract work for them several years ago, before I was hired full-time.

Researcher: What do you like about being a project manager at High Tech?

Project Manager: I like the people I work with, although I do miss doing freelance work. Then I could be my own boss. I set my own deadlines, went on vacation when I wanted. Although I didn't have medical insurance, and that was a problem.

Researcher: So, High Tech has a good benefits package?

Project Manager: Yeah, retirement, medical, vision, dental. Six weeks of vacation plus 10 personal or sick days.

Researcher: Do you plan on staying at High Tech?

Project Manager: Did my supervisor tell you to ask me that question? She's always worried that I'll leave, especially when things get really hectic here.

Researcher: No, we didn't really talk about the questions I was going to ask.

Project Manager: That surprises me. She's really a control freak. (Looks at watch again.) Speaking of which, I have to get back to work.

Researcher: So soon! I have several more questions to ask you.

Project Manager: Sorry, gotta run. Nice meeting you. Good luck with your research, whatever it is about.

Before going to the Suggested Responses page, write down your ideas for improving this interview's clarity of purpose.

Go to:
Suggested Responses