In-field face-to-face interviews


Face to face interviewing remains the most frequently used quantitative research method. Interviews can be conducted in the respondent’s home or workplace, in halls or even simply on the street.

Face-to-face interviewing can offer advantages over self-completion methods such as postal and online surveys because respondents are more likely to give their undivided attention when an interviewer is present. A good interviewer will help build rapport with the respondent without, of course, in any way introducing bias by leading the respondent or “explaining” the questions in his/her own words.

Face-to-face interviews also offer the important advantage compared with a telephone survey that stimulus material can be used. Examples of stimulus material are:

  • A print advertisement or photo sequence of an advert
  • A prompt card with a list of brands or product attributes
  • Pictures or an actual range of new or existing packaging
  • Show cards to help explain complicated answer scales.

Face to face interviewing also allows for longer interviews than can be conducted by telephone, although care should be taken not to extend interviews beyond what might be acceptable for the respondent.

Open Medical Consulting has extensive experience of face to face interviewing and has a national field-force of experienced supervisors and interviewers whose work is coordinated by a project manager. All interviewers are fully trained and are given a rigorous briefing at the start of each project to ensure consistency of procedure.

Examples of Our Work

Recent examples of our work using face to face interviewing are:

  • A continuous survey amongst visitors to York. Visitors were interviewed at selected locations throughout the city to check their motivations in choosing to visit and their satisfaction with the attractions and facilities available. Over 1000 interviews were conducted annually and more than 8000 were completed over the duration of the contract.
  • A survey conducted at convenience stores in remote areas of the UK to quantify the benefit of installing ATM cash machines. All elements of cost associated with obtaining cash were compared before and after the introduction of the machines. Over 950 interviews were completed.
  • A survey designed to assess the impact of stress at work. Interviews were conducted amongst full-time or part-time workers in each of 10 major towns and cities across the UK. Respondents were asked questions about the impact that ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days at work had on their work and home life.