A convergent Interview is type of interview intended to explore issues widely through a combination of unstructured interviews and a maximum diversity sample.
This example is taken from Dick, B. (2002) Convergent interviewing. Session 8 of Areol - action research and evaluation on line.
"In the early stages of contracting for an action research project, a potential client will often expect a detailed proposal. My preference is to negotiate something much more flexible. I seldom know, from initial contact, what process will appropriate.
In this situation, I may offer to do some convergent interviewing (for a fixed price, it this is a paid engagement). After the interviewing, I can present a report, and a more detailed proposal of how the project might proceed.
I have found that relatively small samples, carefully chosen, can allow a good diagnosis.
Sometimes, low-impact data collection is needed. For example, it may be a large community or organisation, and time may be short. Some quick data collection may be useful; and convergent interviewing is one possible option for collecting the data.
Again, for large organisations and communities, you may be working more directly with a smaller working party. Convergent interviewing is easily learned. The working party can use it for initial data gathering. (They will also need some effective way of reporting back to the other stakeholders.)
On some occasions, you will find that your client group members have already done some data collection. If so, it's likely that they used some form of written survey.
Unless they designed it well, it may not have given them the information they wanted. Often the information is hard to interpret. A relatively small number of convergent interviews may help you clarify and interpret the survey data. "
- Convergent interviewing. Session 8 of Areol: this webpage offers an overview of the convergent interviewing technique
Dick, B. (2002) Convergent interviewing. Session 8 of Areol - action research and evaluation on line. Retrieved from: http://www.uq.net.au/action_research/areol/areol-session08.html
TV crew to interview the workers in the field by Sarvis John, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service