Data Viz KitRights  |  Data  |  Questions  |  Charts  |  Hazards  |  Improvements


Much data in the human rights field is gathered through interviews. Interviews can be conducted in person, over the telephone, or via the internet. Interviews can be structured, semi-structured, or unstructured (informal), and usually gather mostly qualitative data. Structured interviews involve pre-set questions, administered in the same order for each subject (similar to a questionnaire). Unstructured interviews ask each subject different questions, with the order varying, and some questions depending on previous answers or the subjects’ knowledge and experiences. Interviews often take place as a conversation, allowing the researcher to probe further where new information comes to light or more in-depth exploration is required. In-person interviews can also respond to non-verbal cues such as facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language. In-person interviews can be time consuming to conduct and interpret. Information collected may not be comparable over a number of participants, especially when an unstructured approach is used. With structured or semi-structured interview, quantitative data can be drawn from the interview text (e.g., “50% of participants reported that they experienced discrimination in the past year”). Secondary quantitative data can be used to contextualize interviews; examples might include a timeline of events or a map describing where the interviews took place.