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Research Interviewer Duties and Responsibilities

While the specific responsibilities of a research interviewer can depend on the type of organization they work for, most share several core duties:

Conduct Interviews The central responsibility of a research interviewer is conducting both in-person and telephone interviews with participants. Typically, a research interviewer receives a list of questions and objectives, along with data regarding interview subjects, then schedules interviews. During the interview, the research interviewer asks questions and records answers, asking follow-up questions to gather clear and usable data.

Compile Interview Data After conducting an interview, the research interviewer compiles data and prepares reports. These reports generally include information about the research participant, questions that the interviewer asked, and the participant's responses. In some cases, the research interviewer may use a standardized form to record responses, while in other cases the interviewer needs to write a report related to each interview to aid in data analysis.

Maintain Participant Confidentiality Research interviewers maintain the privacy and confidentiality of research subjects throughout the interview process. This can include presenting participants with privacy forms and following best practices while conducting interviews, compiling data, and preparing or submitting reports. Research interviewers also answer participant questions related to privacy and confidentiality practices and procedures.

Present Findings to Supervisors In addition to conducting interviews and preparing reports, many research interviewers present the results of their interviews or findings directly to supervisors. In this aspect of the role, the research interviewer may need to compile data from a series of interviews into a presentation that highlights commonalities, trends, and responses as a whole. They also need to be prepared to discuss their interview process with supervisors and managers to help shape future interviews.

Support Data and Record Management Many research interviewers also provide support with record-keeping and data management, working closely with supervisors and other interviewers to maintain and update files related to ongoing research projects. This can include regularly assessing files to remove redundant or irrelevant data, creating new records of interview participants, and ensuring that files are accessible for researchers.


Research Interviewer Skills and Qualifications

Research interviewers work in a variety of fields, interacting with customers, patients, and clients to gather data. Most workers in this role have at least a high school diploma and the following skills:
  • Research skills - research interviewers should thoroughly understand the field in which they are conducting research, including the objectives of their interviews and the overall research process
  • Clerical skills - in this role, research interviewers record interview information quickly and accurately, so they should have strong clerical skills, such as typing and note-taking
  • Confidentiality - maintaining confidentiality is vital in this role, so research interviewers should understand the importance of protecting interviewee data and following best practices to maintain confidentiality
  • Attention to detail - research interviewers should also have a high level of attention to detail to ensure that they accurately record answers, ask the right questions and follow-up questions, and gather all necessary data
  • Communication skills - written and verbal communication are both central to this role, since research interviewers need to speak to research participants and prepare and present reports
  • Time management - research interviewers also need great time management skills to successfully coordinate interviews and ensure that they gather data on time for ongoing research

Research Interviewer Education and Training

There are no formal education requirements to become a research interviewer, although most companies require a high school diploma or GED. Some experience with administrative and clerical tasks can help research interviewers find work. There are many opportunities for on-the-job training in this role as research interviewers learn more effective techniques for conducting and recording interviews.

Research Interviewer Salary and Outlook

While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide specific salary information for research interviewers, its data for survey researchers and interviewers may provide a helpful starting point. The BLS found that survey researchers earn a median annual salary of $54,270. The highest-paid 10 percent of workers in this role earn more than $100,660, while the lowest paid earn less than $27,000. Interviewers earn a median annual salary of $33,110, with the highest-paid workers earning more than $49,490 and the lowest paid earning less than $22,060 per year. The BLS expects employment in this field to grow at a slower-than-average pace of 2 percent through 2026.

Helpful Resources

We identified a number of resources on the web if you'd like to learn more about working as a research interviewer: "Six Best Practices for Conducting User Interviews" - read this blog post to learn how to conduct effective research interviews by understanding interview objectives, asking open-ended questions, and allowing participants to answer without interruptions

InterViews: Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing - this book provides research interviewers with a logical and thorough approach that they can incorporate into their work

"Interviews as a Research Method: Dig Deep into an Issue, Follow Up for Clarification, Analyze for Major Themes" - this blog post covers interview best practices and explores how they can be effective for gathering data in many industries

The Research Interview: Reflective Practice and Reflexivity in Research Processes - read this book (which focuses on interview management and interaction) to learn practices and approaches for conducting research interviews

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