Unstructured style of interviewing, like anything else in the world, has its set of advantages and disadvantages. It is considered by some as an unreliable tool for conducting interview due to various reasons. Some of the limitations of unstructured interviewing are as follows:
Unstructured interview is more like a conversation dominated by the respondent but initiated by a question. There is a temptation on the part of the respondent to discuss more unusual and different areas that he/she deals with, whereas the primary purpose of the interview is to concentrate on the central issues. This can lead to a situation where the purpose of the interview is not satisfied.
• Age, gender, ethnicity of the respondent may affect the responses of the respondent. This would make comparison between responses from various respondents difficult.
• Interviewer bias is yet another problem with this type of interviewing. The description provided and ideas expressed by the respondent will be judged by the interviewer with a prejudiced mind.
• The respondents, based on the social desirability, would want to present themselves in a certain way. They may not reveal the true picture.
• There is also the question of reliability with respect to the explanations given by the respondent. Not all respondents would tell complete truth. There may be replications and intentional lying.
• This type of interviewing may prove to be time consuming.