Face-to-Face Questionnaires

Face to face questionnaires are conducted by an interviewer asking questions of a respondent in person. They are similar to a telephone questionnaire in terms of allowing the interviewer to explain and probe out questions. However they have the advantage of the fact that participants may be more willing to give longer periods of time in a face to face situation rather than over the phone. Unlike semi-structured interviews, a script to be followed for the questions of a face to face questionnaire is prepared in advance. The interviewer will typically organise a convenient time and place for the participant in advance, such as the home of the participant.

Pros

  • Can allow for more complex questions as interviewer is present to clarify wording and probe for more information
  • Can generally be longer than a phone interview
  • Arranged to be convenient for the participant to take part in
  • Can access samples that phone and Internet questionnaires might not be able to reach
  • Ability to incorporate visual stimuli into the questionnaire
  • Generally have a higher response rate than other methods

Cons

  • Costs are more substantial than other methods
  • Involves a greater investment of time
  • Due to time and budget constraints, the geographical area that can be covered is often limited
  • Participant responses may be affected by 'interviewer bias'
  • Participants may have concerns about privacy and anonymity when answering questions face to face, and be less likely to give honest answers to sensitive questions

Resources

Designing the Face-to-Face Survey: This chapter by W. Lawrence Neuman covers the strengths and limitations of this method, and discusses the process of designing and implementing the survey, as well as aspects of management and improvements.

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Updated: 26th August 2014 - 5:12am
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