18.104.22.168 Indirect Oral Interviews
Under this method of collecting data, the investigator contacts third parties called witnesses capable of supplying the necessary information. The method is generally adopted in those cases where the information to be obtained is of a complex nature and the informants are not inclined to respond if approached directly. For example, in an enquiry regarding addiction to drugs, alcohol, etc., people may be reluctant to supply information about their own habits. It would be necessary in that case to get the desired information from those dealing in drugs, liquor or other people who may be knowing them, for example, their neighbours, friends, etc. Similarly, if a fire has broken out at a certain place the cause of the fire may be traced by contacting persons living in the neighbourhood of that area. In a similar manner, clues about thefts or murders are obtained by the police by interrogating third parties who are supposed to have knowledge about the case under investigation. Enquiry Committees and Commissions appointed by the Government generally adopt this method to get people’s views and all possible details of facts relating to the enquiry.
This method is very popular in practice. However, the correctness of information obtained depends upon a number of factors, such as:
1. The type of persons whose evidence is being recorded. If the people do not know the full facts of the problem under investigation or if they are prejudiced it will not be possible to arrive at correct conclusions.
2. The ability of the interviewers to draw out the information from witness by means of appropriate questions and cross-examination.
3. The honesty of interviewers who are collecting the information. It might happen that because of bribery, nepotism or certain other reasons those who are collecting the information give it such a twist that correct conclusions are not arrived at.
For the success of this method it is necessary that the evidence of one person alone is not relied upon; the views of a number of persons should be ascertained to find the real position. Utmost care must be exercised in the selection of these persons because it is on their views that the final conclusions are reached.
Suitability. This method is suitable in such cases where indirect sources of information are required to be tapped either because direct sources do not exist or cannot be relied upon or would be reluctant to part with the information.