Reflection Of An Interview On Public Opinion Of Us National Security

1071 words - 5 pages

My main desire in conducting this interview was to gauge public opinion regarding the United States’ national security, especially with respect to the surveillance of civilians. Reflecting on the interview, it was informative to extent, but some difficulties resulted on my part due to a lack of clarity going into the interview. Having a more concise preamble would have been beneficial when better determining a common theme for my questions. Overall though, the interview helped me to understand one individuals opinion of the US’ national security practices as well as give insight into the thought process one goes through while formulating answers to interview questions.
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In order to understand the extent of the interviewee’s knowledge on the topic I asked general questions, such as if they know who Edward Snowden is and what their understanding of the NSA’s intelligence gathering practices used on civilians is; however I did not volunteer any additional information outside of what the respondent said. My motive in this was two-fold: firstly, I wanted to understand the interviewee’s opinion from their point of view as much as possible. Secondly, in lecture, one of the points brought up was the occurrence of people forgetting details or specifics of what events formed their opinions while tending to only remember their impressions. Therefore, someone’s knowledge on the subject of national security my not necessarily be an accurate measurement of their informed opinion or even their actual knowledge.
The interview process itself went smoothly with few issues arising. Upon playing back the interview some issues surfaced; these included not asking adequate follow-up questions on the spot and not having a clear idea of what I was trying to gauge with a question. In order to remedy this, thoroughly reviewing all questions before the interview as well as anticipating responses to questions, as to determine insightful follow-up questions, would have needed to be done. Besides that, the only other critique I have concerns my own motive in interviewing the respondent. Having clearer idea of what I wanted to gain from the interview would have been beneficial in the interviewing process. Outside of those issues the answers received were in-depth and there were no one-word answers given other than the age and ethnicity of the interviewee, also the interview lasted 21 minutes, which was close to the amount of time it was intended to take.
As stated earlier, Chong mentions “top-of- head” responses, and although in his study people initially gave “top-of-head” responses, further probing of respondents’ answers revealed more nuanced opinions, this is one of the main pros in conducting interviews. Conversely this is one of the greatest problems presented with surveys; they have a tendency to produce thoughtless “top-of-head” responses. For instance, I asked the participant how she was personally affected by her knowledge of the NSA’s surveillance of people, especially with concern to...

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