Indirect Oral Interviews – Methods of Primary Data Collection

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Under this method of data collection, the investigator contacts third parties generally called ‘witnesses’ who are capable of supplying necessary information. This method is generally adopted when the information to be obtained is of a complex nature and informants are not inclined to respond if approached directly. For example, when the researcher is trying to obtain data on bribe or the habit of taking liquor, there is high probability that the bribed / addcited person will not provide the desired data and hence will disturb the whole research process. In this situation taking the help of such persons or agencies or the neighbours who know them well becomes necessary. Since these people know the person well, they can provide the desired data. Enquiry Committees and Commissions appointed by the Government generally adopt this method to get people’s views and all possible details of the facts related to the enquiry.

Though this method is very popular, its correctness depends upon a number of factors such as
1. The person or persons or agency whose help is solicited must be of proven integrity; otherwise any bias or prejudice on their part will not bring out the correct information and the whole process of research will become useless.
2. The ability of the interviewers to draw information from witnesses by means of appropriate questions and cross-examination.
3. It might happen that because of bribery, nepotism or certain other reasons those who are collecting the information give it such a twist that correct conclusions are not arrived at.

    

Therefore, for the success of this method it is necessary that the evidence of one person alone is not relied upon. Views from other persons and related agencies should also be ascertained to find the real position. Utmost care must be exercised in the selection of these persons because it is on their views that the final conclusions are reached.

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