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.