Observations and interviews



Observationsand interviews

Observationsand interviews

Thereare several methods that can be used in the measurement ofpersonality traits. Some of the most common methods are observationsand interviews. Measurement by observation involves determining thelevel to which a person is perceived to have a particular definedtrait or attribute. The rating is mainly done by an observer, butself rating is also applicable. The rating identifies the extent towhich the individual has a particular train or how a definedattribute presents itself in the person (Gosling, 2003). Anothercommon method of measuring personality traits is interviews. This isone of the most common methods of personality assessment. Interviewinvolves a face to face interaction between the subject and theassessor. The personality traits of the subject are determineddepending on how he or she answers the questions asked orally. Theinterview can be structure or unstructured. In a structuredinterview, the assessor has predetermined questions while inunstructured interview he has the freedom to ask any question. Bothinterviews and observation have strength and weaknesses. Althoughobservation is more convenient, both methods are relativelyconvenient compared to other methods. However, while interviews arelikely to result into manipulation of the subject, the lack ofinteractions between the assessor and the subject in naturalobservations reduces the likelihood of manipulation (Kline, 2015). Onthe other hand, there are some traits that can not be identifiedthrough observation. Additionally, the traits identified usingobservation is perceived traits. There are also ethical issues thatare associated with both interviews and observation. There islikelihood of biasness in both methods. However, when usingobservation methods, the subject is likely to be observed and ratedin one specific context, which may result into unfair results (Usher,2008).


Gosling,S. et al (2003). “A dog’s got personality. A cross speciescomparative approach to evaluating personality judgment”. J PersSoc Psychol85, p 1161-1169.

Kline,P. (2015). Personality(Psychology Revivals): Measurement and Theory,Routledge.

Usher,J. (2008). “Comparative personality research methodologyapproaches”. EurJ Pers22 p 427-455.