Perils of interviewing known people

Interviewing is considered to be one of the most important aspects of every research paper writing process. PhD students tend to get a fair chance of collecting a lot of useful information by conducting interviews. Before selecting participants for an interview study, the interviewer must both establish access to them and make contact.


Nowadays, a large group of novice interviewers tend to look for the easiest path to their potential participants and often opt for people with whom they already have a relationship; friends, students they teach or those with whom they work. This is understandable yet problematic. Here is a list of some perils of interviewing known individuals:-

  • Conflicts of interest – If a doctoral candidate interviews someone whom he/she supervises, then there are maximum chances for conflicts of interest. The interview participants under such cases might not feel secure in the exploration which may ultimately lead to an un-productive interview.
  • Inability to open up – If a doctoral candidate interviews his/her students, then the latter might hardly open up to the former who has both so much power and so much invested in the situation. The teacher-researcher should seek to interview students in some other setting with some other teacher who is using a similar method or curriculum.
  • Less chances for exploring assumptions – If a doctoral candidate interviews his/her friends, then it is usually assumed that the two understand each other. Under such situations, instead of exploring assumptions and seeking clarity about events and experiences, both; the researcher as well as his/her friends assume that they know what is being said and hence things are taken for granted.
  • Researchers tend to take their research project lightly – By interviewing known people, researchers tend not to take themselves seriously as researchers. These novice researchers find it difficult to imagine asking strangers to spend long hours with them and hence opt for an easy way out.

I hope all the research scholars who are reading this blog of mine would surely agree with what all I have specified in my writing. My humble request to all the researchers is to seek proper guidance on the completion of your research project. Never opt for an easy route because this might turn out to be quite detrimental at a later point of time.