I’m a research nerd. Focus groups, surveys, interviews – you name it. Research is crucial to any type of project that is going to be presented to a client. You never want to walk into a presentation without knowing what competitors are doing, or what consumers are interested in. That’s where in-depth interviews (IDIs) can help.
Here are a few tips to consider before conducting an IDI:
- Before the interview, it is very important to give the interviewee a brief introduction as to who you are and why you are conducting the research. It doesn’t have to be a paragraph-long summary about your client, but you should let them know why we are asking for their time.
- Assure them that their responses will be kept confidential and their answers will not be tied to their name in any way. This allows the interviewee to feel comfortable being open and honest with his or her answers.
- Make sure you have a list of carefully thought out questions going into the interview. You do not want to steer the respondent’s answers in any way. That’s why open ended questions are most helpful in IDIs.
- If someone gives a vague or somewhat brief response, it is okay to ask them to elaborate or be more specific. Remember, you are wanting to give your client insightful data and the best way to do so is to have clear responses.
Now that you have the answers to your questions, what do you do?
- Organize – This is crucial. You do not want a bunch of papers or notes jumbled together that you can’t keep track of what’s what or who said what. It’s best to keep interview notes separate.
- Highlight key findings —Has one thing been said multiple times? Do interviewees continually reference the same things? Keep a highlighted list of these things.
- Combine a list of the most important things said to use in your presentation to your client.
In-depth interviews are meant to be insightful and can be fairly painless if you have a method to your madness. It’s always interesting to me when I go into an interview expecting to get a certain response and then come out with a totally different point of view. Sometimes the best responses are the unexpected ones.