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An interview is a conversation where questions are asked and answers are given. In common parlance, the word “interview” refers to a one-on-one conversation between an interviewer and an interviewee. The interviewer asks questions to which the interviewee responds, usually so information may be transferred from interviewee to interviewer. Sometimes, information can be transferred in both directions. It is a communication, unlike a speech, which produces a one-way flow of information. It usually takes place face-to-face and in person, although modern communications technologies such as the Internet have enabled conversations to happen in which parties are separated geographically, such as with videoconferencing software, and telephone it can happen without visual contact. It is almost always involve spoken conversation between two or more parties, although in some instances a “conversation” can happen between two persons who type questions and answers back and forth. Interviews can range from Unstructured interview or free-wheeling and open-ended conversations in which there is no predetermined plan with prearranged questions, to highly structured conversations in which specific questions occur in a specified order. They can follow diverse formats; for example, in a laddering interview, a respondent’s answers typically guide subsequent interviews, with the object being to explore a respondent’s subconscious motives. Typically the interviewer has some way of recording the information that is gleaned from the interviewee, often by writing with a pencil and paper, sometimes transcribing with a video or audio recorder, depending on the context and extent of information and the length of the interview. Interviews have a duration in time, in the sense that it has a beginning and an ending. The traditional two-person interview format, sometimes called a one-on-one interview, permits direct questions and followups, which enables an interviewer to better gauge the accuracy of responses. It is a flexible arrangement in the sense that subsequent questions can be tailored to clarify earlier answers. Further, it eliminates any possible distortion by having third parties present.
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