Interviews can be valuable sources of information in economics. Some considerations are:

  • Is the subject representative of the group? For example, is a welfare mother representative of many, a few, or most welfare mothers?
  • How knowledgeable of the problem is the subject? Company officials, elected representatives, members of a profession may share useful insights into problems.


  • You should prepare for a research interview by knowing as much as possible about the subject before scheduling the interview.
  • You may arrange for the interview by telephone or letter. Try for a mutually agreeable time. Request a specific time period, for example, a half hour. Be on time and limit the interview to the time period.
  • Prepare a list of questions before the interview. Open ended questions that call for more detailed answers may give greater insight to problems.
  • Keep a careful record of the name and position of the interviewee, date and time of the interview. Strive for accuracy in any quotes. Observe confidentiality if requested.
  • Write a report of the interview immediately afterwards while impressions and information are fresh.
  • Follow up with a thank you letter expressing gratitude for the person's time and assistance. 

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