Efficiency Of Structured Vs. Unstructured Interviews Essay, Research Paper
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.
The independent variable was the interview technique used to retrieve the reference librarian’s episodic knowledge about past patron inquiries. By random, a reference librarian was interviewed using either technique by an interviewer trained in both.
The dependent variables: (1) the number of events elicited per each interview (efficiency), and (2) the degree of completeness of details recalled per event (effectiveness) were examined.
Cognitive interview was found to be both more effective and more efficient than standard interviewing techniques in eliciting episodic knowledge from reference librarians. In order for the cognitive interview to be considered an effective interviewing technique, more than one rater must determine that the degree of completeness of details of the events collected under the CI are higher than those collected under the SI.
All interviews were conducted in private rooms individually. The interviews were conducted at the institute of each patron. Ten students enrolled in a senior-level expert system class who received training on the SI and the CI during regularly scheduled class time. No one involved knew of the details of the experiment or the types of techniques being tested. Interviewers received course credit and monetary compensation for their participation.
The interview has long been part of the systems professional’s repertoire of elicitation tools, used extensively in both requirements analysis and knowledge acquisition. It is said that there are some drawbacks associated with the use of interviews. Open interviews are seen as ineffective. Some limitations were on this study. It was conducted in the field rather than a laboratory. The CI did produce higher levels of completeness of details recalled, further increases in these scores might be obtained if more experienced 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?
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.