Field interviews are a qualitative research method that involves gathering qualitative data from an individual or individuals in a particular topic. They differ from regular interviews because they typically include open-ended questions where the interviewee can answer however they like. They are meant to gain a broad perspective on the individual's thoughts and behaviors on a particular subject. Field interviews are a popular research technique because they are a way to gather information from a primary source (someone directly related to the topic). They are different from traditional research because they do not take place in a laboratory or other controlled environment.
Types of Field Interviews
There are different types of interviews that you can use for any research project (Fontana et al., 2007):
Most field interviews typically take the individual semi-structured approach because it allows the interviewee to answer questions freely. It also lets the interviewer adjust the conversation based on the participant's responses. While the interview may be informal, it is important to record any key points or information that the participant provides.
While interviews may not be the most appropriate research strategy in some disciplines, field interviews are significant for several reasons (Mosley, 2013):
View the Conducting Field Interviews tab to learn more about applying field interviews in research.