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            Conducting the Information Interview overview

We engage in some type of interview on nearly a daily basis. We listen to interviews on the radio, television, and online. We participate in or observe interviews so often we might assume interviewing is easy and natural. Yet effective interviewing requires effective training.

phone We generally think of interviews as occurring face-to-face, but interviews may be conducted over the telephone, via email, with text or webcam chat, using net meeting software, or video conferencing. Thus, interviews are not defined by the medium used to communicate, but most centrally by the asking and answering of questions. Asking appropriate questions to elicit relevant information provides the foundation of any interview.

Interviews are distinctly different from social conversation. Although we may make polite conversation in interviews and ask questions in social interactions, all interviews are purposive and goal-directed. Participants must prepare for an interview, particularly information or research interviews.

magnifying glassIn information interviews we gather information to discover meanings and test theories. Information interviews include surveys and polls, exit interviews, oral histories, investigations, journalistic interviews, medical case histories, and diagnostic interviews. "Conducting the Information Interview" focuses on information gathering for research, with special attention to in-depth or probing interviews.