NCO Primary Leadership Subjects
Conduct Surveys and Interviews
You may find it necessary to augment published information with new, original data.
Use surveys and interviews to help collect the data.
A survey is a convenient way to obtain information from a broad number of people
that may have knowledge of your subject or be affected by the problem you are
solving. Rather than send the survey to everybody concerned, you can select a
representative cross section of people to complete the survey.
Develop a simple survey form. Make sure that instructions for completing the
survey are clear and understandable. If possible, use questions whose responses can
be answered with a check mark (e.g. check yes or no). Provide room for written
comments, if appropriate.
You may decide that the best way to get certain information is to interview experts
on the subject or witnesses to the action you are reporting. The following steps will
help you prepare for and conduct interviews.
To prepare for the interview, list the points for which you require
information and formulate appropriate questions.
Make notes or record the interview. If the interviewee objects to being
recorded or is bothered by your note taking, concentrate on listening
and prepare your notes immediately after the interview.
Organize your notes on cards in the same way as for written sources.
Begin the interview by putting the person being interviewed at ease and
explaining why you need information from that individual.
Keep the interview on the subject.
Restate the individual's responses in your own words to be sure that
you understand what is being said and that the person agrees with your
interpretation of the statements.
Complete the interview by asking the person to recommend other
sources of information or people to contact.