The semi-structured interview is an exploratory interview used most often in the social sciences for qualitative research purposes or to gather clinical data. While it generally follows a guide or protocol that is devised prior to the interview and is focused on a core topic to provide a general structure, the semi-structured interview also allows for discovery, with space to follow topical trajectories as the conversation unfolds.
Qualitative interviews exist on a continuum, ranging from free-ranging, exploratory discussions to highly structured interviews. On one end is unstructured interviewing, deployed by approaches such as ethnography, grounded theory, and phenomenology. This style of interview involves a changing protocol that evolves based on participants’ responses and will differ from one participant to the next. On the other end of the continuum...
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