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Semi-structured interviews are commonly used in policy and environmental research to collect qualitative data. An interview is a discussion, usually one-on-one between an interviewer and a stakeholder, structured around a predefined set of open questions.
The objective of the interviews is to gather opinions, perceptions, attitudes or background information (expert knowledge, facts, description of process) about chosen topics.
The questions are designed to investigate chosen topics and must be standardised for the whole panel of interviews. The questions have to be open and invite discussion, favouring an in depth understanding of the answers provided.
Very efficient for qualitative data collection, this method is however time consuming, in terms of interviews and also of transcription: to be useful, interviews must be recorded and transcribed word for word.
An interview collects expert knowledge, position of stakeholder groups and individual trajectories