Interviewing business owners and managers: a review of methods and techniques

Michael J. Healey*, Michael B. Rawlinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


Interviews with business owners and managers are a prime source of information for economic geographers, yet very little has been written about this technique. Although the issues involved in business surveys are not unique, several points about research methods are highlighted when undertaking business interviews, including the link between interview techniques and research design, identifying respondents and obtaining access, preparing for interviews and obtaining 'accurate' answers, and ways of conducting and recording interviews. This paper draws upon both published sources and a survey of the interview methods used by Anglo-American economic geographers in order to review the methods and techniques of interviewing. This paper concludes by arguing that there is no one 'best' way of interviewing business owners and managers. Methods vary for different situations, depending on a range of factors, including the research design, the kind and amount of information required, the resources available, and the size, organizational structure, sector and location of the businesses to be approached. There is an urgent need for a greater priority to be given to experimenting with different survey methods and reporting the results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-355
Number of pages17
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


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