The various types of interview patterns are discussed
On the basis of the manner in which they are conducted,
interviews are generally of the following types:
1) Structured Interview
It is also known as controlled, guided or directive
interview. Under this a predetermined questionnaire
is used. The interviewer is asked to get the answers to
those questions only. He/she generally does not add
anything from his own side. The language too is not
changed. He/she can only interpret the statement
2) Unstructured Interview
It is also known as uncontrolled or non-directive
interview. No direct or predetermined questions are
used in this type of interview. The interviewers may
develop questions as the interview proceeds. It is
generally held in the form of free discussions. The basic
objective of this method is to get the client express
3) Mixed or Depth Interview
It is a combination of structured and unstructured types
of interviews. Under this method the client is free to
express himself/herself but at the same time structured
questions provide a base of information to the
interviewers to compare the clients. The method of
conducting an interview will be influential to a
considerable extent by the purpose of the interview.
On the basis of the purposes they serve, interviews are
of following types, some are primarily directed towards
obtaining information, some primarily towards giving
help. Most, however involve a combination of the two.
1) Information gathering or social study interview
Its purpose is to obtain a focused account of the
individual in terms of social functioning. The information
enables the worker to understand the client in relation
to the social problem situation. Knowledge about the
client and his situation is a necessary prerequisite to
an understanding of the client in his situation. And
understanding is a necessary prerequisite for effectively
intervening to bring about change.
2) Diagnostic / Decision-making Interviews
This type of interview is geared towards the appraisal
and determination of :
a) what the problem or the trouble is.
b) what factors seem to be contributing to it.
c) what can be changed and modified.
As the caseworker listens to each interview he/she
constantly tries to answer the above three questions
and what he/she does in the immediate interview will
be, to a large extent, dependant on this understanding.
For example, in the case of a delinquent juvenile, the
caseworker has to direct the interview in answering
the following questions:
_ how the client sees himself/herself as a
_ what role his/her parents, peers, neighbourhood
have played in contributing to the problem.
_ The teacher’s attitude, school curriculum and
_ Other contributing factors such as current
provocations, historical factors, personality
_ The anxiety, anger and other such feelings
experienced by the clients.
_ What needs to be changed in the client and/or
Diagnostic interview is multifaceted and is an orderly
attempt to understand the client-situation
3) Therapeutic Interview
The purpose of this interview is to effect change in the
client, in his/her social situation, or in both. The goal
is more effective social functioning on the part of the
client as a consequence of the therapeutic changes.
Such interviews involve the use of special remedial
measure to effect changes in the feelings, attitudes
and behaviour on the part of the client in response to
the social situation.
_ Professional failure, self-control in case of the
client’s hostility, rejection and abusive behaviour
_ Coming unprepared for the interview