Week 4: The Role of Structured Interviews


Week 4: The Role of Structured Interviews

Imagine that you are the program coordinator of a school free lunch program. The funding for this program is dependent on the number of families who use the services. You need to find out from family members what they like and do not like about the program in order to determine what could be changed to increase program membership. The question for you this week, as it was last week, is whether you should use a structured approach or an unstructured approach.

This week, you will explore the basic principles of structuredand how they can be used effectively in human services. You will examine challenging situations that might arise in human services interviews and strategies you might use to address them. You will also analyze advantages and limitations of structured interviews by viewing effective and ineffective interview practices in the media. You will also practice your skills by conducting a structured interview.


By the end of this week, you should be able to:

· Analyze structured interviewing challenges

· Evaluate strategies for maintaining focus and meeting goals in a structured interview

· Analyze advantages and limitations of structured interviewing

· Apply structured

Learning Resources

Required Readings

McClam, T., & Woodside, M. (2012). The helping process: Assessment to termination. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.

· Chapter 2, “The Assessment Phase” (Review)

· Chapter 4, “Effective Intake Interviewing” (Review)

· Chapter 5, “Interviewing Skills” (Review)

Aboraya, A., (2009). Use of structured interviews by psychiatrists in real clinical settings: Results of an open-ended survey. Psychiatry, 6(6), 24–27.

Bruchmuller, K., Margraf, J., Suppiger, A., & Scneider, S. (2011). Popular or unpopular? Therapists’ use of structured interviews and their estimation of patient acceptance. Behavior Therapy, 42(4), 634-643.

Required Media

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012).  interviewing: Structured interviewing techniques: Part one. Baltimore, MD: Author. Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 9 minutes.

Accessible player 

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Effective human services interviewing: Structured interviewing techniques: Part two. Baltimore, MD: Author. Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 14 minutes.

Accessible player 


Discussion: Challenging Situations

Human services professionals often encounter challenging situations involving dilemmas and problems that have no apparent or easy solutions. These challenging situations might not even relate to the pertinent interview topic, and can result in the interview going off topic. Although it is virtually impossible to prevent challenging situations from arising, human services professionals prepare themselves by developing strategies for addressing such situations and refocusing the interview on the relevant information.

In this Discussion, you will explore challenges that might arise during a structured human services interview. You will place yourself in the role of the interviewer and propose strategies that might help to address challenging situations. You also will explore the potential impacts of these strategies.

To prepare for this Discussion:  

· Select one of the following situations to examine in this Discussion:

· You are conducting an interview with Michelle, a 16-year-old mother who is in need of financial and educational services to support her child. During the benefits assessment you ask Michelle to describe who lives in the home with her. She informs you that she lives with her 24-year-old sister; her 3-month-old son; and her boyfriend, who is her son’s father. When you ask if anyone in the home generates an income, Michelle tells you that her boyfriend has a job, but says, “Don’t worry, he doesn’t always live with us, so his checks don’t really count, right?”

· You are completing a preliminary intake interview at the local community health center. In gathering basic information from a new patient who is seeking services for chronic headaches, you ask about medication/drug use. The interviewee, a 25-year-old man, says, “I just sell…don’t take. Next question?”

· You just completed a multipage intake form with a new interviewee at the interviewee’s home. The interviewee answered all of the questions you asked with some hesitation and was reluctant to speak with you. As you prepare to leave the interviewee’s home, she asks where you are going with the forms. She asks that either you erase some of “that stuff about the personal legal history” or that you let her keep the interview form and bring a copy to you later at the office.

· You are interviewing a new client for a jobs program. When you get to the second page of required questions, you notice one that you find quite offensive and embarrassing. Your “gut reaction” is to simply skip the question.

· Select one strategy you might use to address the challenges posed in the situation you selected. Think about how using this strategy might help maintain the focus of the interview as well as adequately address the challenge.

With these thoughts in mind:

By Day 4

· Post by Day 4 a phrase that identifies the situation you selected. Briefly explain the challenges posed in the situation. Then, explain your strategy for maintaining the focus of the structured interview while still adequately addressing the challenge. Finally, explain why your strategy should work.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.

By Day 6

Respond by Day 6 to at least one of your colleagues’ postings in one or more of the following ways:

· Suggest another way to address the challenges of the situation he or she selected.

· Ask a probing question.

· Share an insight from having read your colleague’s posting.

· Offer and support an opinion.

· Validate an idea with your own experience.

· Expand on your colleague’s posting.

Return to this Discussion in a few days to read the responses to your initial posting. Note what you have learned and/or any insights you have gained as a result of the comments your colleagues made.

Submission and Grading Information

Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:

Week 4 Rubric

Post by Day 4 and Respond by Day 6

To participate in this Discussion:

Week 4 Discussion

Assignment: Strategies for Conducting an Effective Structured Interview

“What is your highest level of education?” 

“If you are employed, where do you work?”

“Have you ever sought services at this organization before?”

Structured interviews using questions like these often are used as an intake tool to help a human services professional gather objective, uniform data that are necessary to begin assisting an interviewee. In a structured interview, the interviewer asks a predetermined, standardized set of questions to all interviewees. The purpose of the interview is to gather basic information. Structured interviews often are employed in the initial interview with a new interviewee.

In this Assignment, you will watch two examples of structured interviews in the Course Media.

To prepare for this Assignment:

· Review the information in Chapter 2 in your course text, The Helping Process: Assessment to Termination. Focus on the section titled “Structured and Unstructured Interviews.”

· Review the information in Chapter 4 in your course text, The Helping Process: Assessment to Termination. Focus on the section titled “Closed and Open Inquiries.”

· Review the information in Chapter 5 in your course text, The Helping Process: Assessment to Termination.

· Review the articles, “Use of Structured Interviews by Psychiatrists in Real Clinical Settings” and “Popular or Unpopular? Therapists’ Use of Structured Interviews and Their Estimation of Patient Acceptance.” Focus on the pros and cons of conducting this type of interview.

· Review the Course Media, “Interview Techniques: Part 1” and “Interview Techniques: Part 2” for this week. Observe body language, setting, and questions used by the interviewer and the responses of the interviewee.

· Think about effective and ineffective use of the structured interviewing techniques.

· Consider the advantages and limitations of structured interviewing.

· Consider the following :

· You are a job services counselor. A person has come to you to receive job training. You need to determine this person’s background, including job-related experiences and skills, so that you can direct this individual toward the services he or she will need.

· Using the “” document as a guide, develop your own set of structured interview questions to elicit the information. You will submit your questions with your Assignment.

· Choose a volunteer you know who is willing to be video recorded while participating in a role play as someone being interviewed. Provide the scenario to this volunteer participant.

· Ask the volunteer participant to read over the scenario. Explain that he or she will play the role of the interviewee. The volunteer participant should respond in character and should not respond using personal information.

· Important Note: You and the volunteer participant are required to sign the Video/Voice Release Agreement present in the Kaltura Media Uploader area in the left navigation bar. You will submit these Voice/Video Release Agreements when you submit your paper.

· For instructions on how to use Kaltura, please see the Kaltura Media Uploaderarea in the left navigation bar.


By Day 7

The Assignment:

· Submit by Day 7 an Assignment that includes the following two parts:

· Interview Video: Submit a 10- to 12-minute video of you demonstrating structured interview skills using the scenario provided.

· Note: Save your video with the filename “WK4Assgn+first initial+lastname.” Please note that this video demonstration is not submitted to the SafeAssign submission link. Use the Week 4 Assignment 1 SafeAssign submission link to submit a Video/Voice Release Agreement for you and the volunteer. Then upload your video file and share it with your Instructor. For instructions on how to use Kaltura, please see the Kaltura Media Uploader area in the left navigation bar.

· Paper: Write a 2- to 3-page paper in which you do the following:

· Explain at least one challenge you had in meeting the goals of the interview.

· Explain how you addressed or could address the challenge you experienced. Include information from both the Learning Resources and from your experience that you could use to address this challenge.

· Finally, explain the advantages and limitations of this type of interviewing.

Note: Submit your Video/Voice Release Agreement to the  SafeAssign submission link. Then, please be sure to submit your 2- to 3-page paper to the Week 4 Assignment 2 SafeAssign submission link.

Support your Assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation. You are asked to provide a reference list for all resources, including those in the Learning Resources for this course.