Non-directed interviews constitute the main data collection instrument in qualitative health research. Studies in which this is evident are well documented in international literature. For health professionals, knowing what people feel and imagine makes it possible to develop a more adequate clinician-patient relationship. It is indispensable to know what the life phenomena mean for individuals, because the meanings have a structuring function. People organize their lives around the meaning they attribute to situations or object. This is also relevant to their health care. From research conducted at the Laboratory of Clinical-Qualitative Research, State University of Campinas, Campinas (São Paulo), Brazil, the authors address, in this article, the following matters: characterization of non-directed interviews, directiveness of interviews, approach techniques, observation of non-verbal and paraverbal manifestations, registry techniques / speech transcription, and validity/reliability of non-directed interviews. This is useful for people interested in research at graduate and undergraduate level.
interview; qualitative research; validity