Module 7: Interviews
Interviews for evaluation purposes are used to obtain in-depth information from individuals about their experiences, actions, beliefs, attitudes, decisions and motivations for choices.
Interviews can capture stories, examples and detailed information about a program with more context than surveys or other methods might miss. Interviews help to account for “the human factor” in IPM program implementation. Interviews can enhance the understanding why an IPM program is adopted (or not) and what factors most contributed to its success.
Interviews can also be used to improve the quality of survey-based evaluations.
If you aren’t sure of the issues being faced by your stakeholders or you want to make sure you are asking the right questions, conducting interviews can help improve your survey questions prior to full-scale implementation. For example, Malone et al., Journal of Extension, 2004, 42:4 used personal interviews with Extension Specialists, Agents, and farmers to develop surveys of farmers' opinions on corn, soybean, and small grains IPM practices.
When are Interviews Useful?
o To describe program processes and context (e.g., how communication works in an IPM program, or how it aligns with other organizational priorities)
o To understand the rationale behind people’s decisions and actions (e.g., why some growers adopt an IPM method while others do not; researchers in Australia used the results of in-depth interviews to understand how growers managed codling moth and pest mites, Geoff Kaine and Denise Bewsell, Adoption of Integrated Pest Management by apple growers: the role of context, DOI: 10.1080/09670870802065256)
o To document and understand variations in program implementation between sites or between audiences. For example, researchers at Tuskegee University used in-person interviews of limited resource farmers to understand the perceptions of this audience on IPM practices (Tackie et al, Journal of Extension, 2009, 47 (1), http://www.joe.org/joe/2009february/rb6.php).
o To gain insight into the perspectives and actions of diverse participants with different roles in a program (e.g., school administrator, custodian, kitchen manager and pest control contractor in a school IPM program), and how these may affect program success
o To gather detailed information on how a program has affected individuals or groups (personal outcomes, success stories)
o To improve quantitative data collection instruments (e.g., surveys)