In some instances, they may not give the correct family size, being afraid of ‘evil eyes’… The lowest response was to questions about livestock. Farmers never give actual numbers of their animals. They are afraid of the ‘evil eye’ and they are also afraid of taxes, since they have to pay a certain tax for every animal. (Kearl, 1976, P151)8 As we all know the Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs. In the developing countries, people are still motivated by the Subsistence needs and safety needs. When we do interviews in those developing countries we should take what the interviewee’s needs for granted.
In the case above, if we don’t realize the needs of people in the developing countries, we will not create a dialogue between respondents and interviewers successfully, which will affect the result of research. That is to say the background characteristics play an important role in interview. The culture in the developing country is always complicated to understand. The people live in that country live in an occluding surrounding, it also enhance the difficulty for people to realize their culture.
At that time, the interviewer and the respondent come from the same culture will be helpful. Language Use Interviews are used as a source for understanding how individuals make sense of their social world and act within it. However, ethno-methodological approaches are interested in interviews as topics in their own right. It is thereby assumed that the link between a person’s account of an action and the action itself cannot be made: it tells the social researcher little about a reality that is ‘external’ to the interview.
Instead, an interview is a social encounter like any other. 9 For this reason, interviews are a topic of social research, not a resource for social research: interview data report not on an external reality displayed in the respondent’s utterances but on the internal reality constructed as both parties contrive to produce the appearances of a recognizable interview. (Sliverman 1985: 165, original emphasis)10 The focus now moves to the methods that people employ in constructing the interview, not the interview data themselves; as noted above, the use of language as performance.
11 Whether the communication is successful or not highly depends on the usage of language. A researcher goes to a country to do some research. The most important problem he will be faced is the problem of language. Even if he invite the translator to help him, it is also hard to express something related to motion and feeling, which plays an important part in the social research. If we have the interviewers and respondents with the same background, the problem might diminish. Summary and Suggestion Interviewing is not easy.
Cohen said that: “like fishing, interviewing is an activity requiring careful preparation, much patience, and considerable practice if the eventual reward is to be worthwhile catch. “12 Both interviewers and respondents may be influenced in various indirect ways by the background characteristics of the others. They provide cues to each about the other; for example, if the interviewer is white and the respondent black, the respondent may be influenced in his attitude to the interviewer and his behaviors, and therefore the results will be affected.
13 The background includes: sex, age, social status, language, etc. Moreover, background characteristics are the source of many attitudes, perception, expectations and motives. If interviewer and respondent are widely divergent in their background characteristics, they are likely to have widely different attitudes and motives which make mutual misunderstanding more likely: ” They constitute a kind of subsoil in which many of an individual’s attitudes, motives and perceptions have direct roots” (Kahn and Cannell, 1957, P183)14
However, even the interviewer and the respondent are with the same characteristics, it is still difficult to do an efficient interview. Standardize the interviewer can improve the efficiency of interview. To begin with, the researcher must ensure that despite the fact that interviewers and respondents each have their own individual personality, history and mannerisms, each interview is standard and identicial. 15 The goal of standardization further requires the interviewer to remain neural and as detached from respondent as possible, whilst stimultaneously maintaining a good rapport.
16 I can not draw a conclusion that which is more important in the social research. What we can do is that we should try our best to improve the qualities of interviewers. It will be better if we can find the high quality interviewers who have the same background characteristics with the respondents. While the aims of various interviews are different in various social researches, interviewers in social life are not just topics, but are employed as means of appraisal which may determine life chances.
For this reason, researchers might pay more attention to the interviewing practice, as well as what is said and done as a result of the of interview, for the overall purpose of improving our understanding of the social world.
Notes: 1 BELL, J. Doing Your Research Project, 3rd Edition, P135 2 BELL, J. Doing Your Research Project, 3rd Edition, P135 3 BELL, J. Doing Your Research Project, 3rd Edition, P135 4 M. D. Shipman, The Limitations of Social Research, P77 5 O’CONNELL DAVIDSON, J, Methods, Sex and Madness, P117 6 GILBERT, G. N. (ed. ), Researching Social Life, P133.
7 GILBERT, G. N. (ed. ), Researching Social Life, P134 8 Cited in Martin Bulmer & Donald P. Warwick (ed. ), Social Research in Developing Countries, P205 9 MAY, TIM, Social research: issues, methods, and process, P142 10 Cited in MAY, TIM, Social research: issues, methods, and process, P143 11 MAY, TIM, Social research: issues, methods, and process, P143 12 Cited in BELL, J. Doing Your Research Project, 3rd Edition, P136 13 Martin Bulmer & Donald P. Warwick (ed. ), Social Research in Developing Countries, P206 14 Cited in Martin Bulmer & Donald P. Warwick (ed.), Social Research in Developing Countries, P206 15 O’CONNELL DAVIDSON, J, Methods, Sex and Madness, P118 16 O’CONNELL DAVIDSON, J, Methods, Sex and Madness, P120.
Bibliographies: 1. BELL, J. (1993) , Doing Your Research Project, 3rd Edition, Open University Press 2. M. D. Shipman (1872), The Limitations of Social Research, Longman Group Limited. 3. O’CONNELL DAVIDSON, J (1994), Methods, Sex and Madness, Routledge 4. GILBERT, G. N. (ed. ) (2001), Researching Social Life, 2nd Edition, Sage 5. Martin Bulmer ; Donald P. Warwick (ed. ) (1993), Social Research in Developing Countries, UCL Press Limited
6. MAY, TIM (2001), Social research: issues, methods, and process, Open University Press 7. Blaxter, L. Hughes, C. ; Tight, M. (2001) How to research, 2nd Edition, Open University Press 8. McCrossan, L. (1984), A Handbook For Interviewers: A manual of Social Survey Practice and Procedures for structured interviewing, OPCS Assessed essay (FOSR) – 1 – Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Social Work section.