Evaluating the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Structured versus Unstructured Interviews

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Agarwal and Tanniru conducted a field experiment to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of structured versus unstructured interviews, using both novice and experienced interviewers. The experiment was conducted to compare the efficiency and effectiveness of the cognitive interview with the standard information requirements interview. However, the experimental results did not indicate that structured interviews enhanced recall. This triggered the experiment using the Cognitive Interview.

This experiment is to test the effects that the Cognitive Interview has on memory and recall. Two hypotheses are tested in this experiment. The use of a theoretically grounded interview technique will provide a more efficient collection of information related to the problem domain. Increased recall is gained at the sacrifice of completeness of recall of each event.

The project researched consisted of a field experiment using forty-two reference librarians in eight academic library sites, in various private and public colleges and universities. Librarians assist patrons in seeking out information from poets to laws and in order to do such a task it requires an assessment of questions from both parties. This made librarians a perfect target for such an experiment. The study was to test the effectiveness and efficiency of the cognitive interview in eliciting episodic knowledge from professionals who are required to provide a customized solution to a variety of inquiries. The episodic knowledge is also known as the “event” that begins with the patron inquiry and ends with the librarian’s resolution of that inquiry. It must also provide efficiency, an elicitation technique should be effective: that is, it should provide “quality” information. ...

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...rienced interviewers with additional training had been used.

In the future elicitation techniques used in systems needs to be explored. It has not been determined whether efficiency or effectiveness is more important.

I think that there could be numerous experiments done on this topic. Cognitive interviews are clearly more effective even if the results are minimal. There should be a study conducted as to which one is more important. They say that it could make an even bigger difference with more experienced interviewers and I am curious if that is so. Does being an experienced interviewer make a difference on memory recall?


Works Cited

Moody, Janette W.; Blanton, J. E (Summer98). A theoretically grounded approach to assist memory recall during information requirements: Journal of Management Information Systems, vol.15 Issue 1, p79, 20p.
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