Difficult interview participants and possible solutions

1. Participants are willing just to give monosyllabic answer, “yes”, “no”, “maybe”. Formulate questions as open as possible or use long pauses in silence to let them know you want hear more.

2. Participant become upset or start to cry. Explain that the question does not have to be answered. Avoid finalize the interview in this precise moment and just move on a different topic. It could make him/her feel guilty and cause greater damage.

3. They provide long answer and digress from the guide. Impose your direction discretly, without cause offence. For example, refering back to an earlier relevant point.

4. Participants starts interviewing you. You need to stress that you are interested in their opinion and that yours maybe provided at the end.

Reference

Lewis, Philip, Mark NK Saunders, and Adrian Thornhill. Research methods for business students. Pearson, 2009.

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9-step checklist to conduct an in-depth interview

1. Encourage participants to provide further details when talking on crucial topics and bringing them to the interview guide when digressing.

2. Measure carefully when and in which sequence you ask certain questions. It mainly applies to the centered question. What is a centered question? Among all possible questions, a number of them are usually crucial for the research. You could actually ask these questions right away and make interviews shorter. However, it would be at the expense of reliability. In other terms, going to the point at the beginning of the discussion may inform about the sponsorship and, in consequence, affect the spontaneity and data credibility. This is actually the most common mistake.

3. For this reason it is recommendable moving from opening and more general questions like “could you please tell me about your favorite brand” up to the centered one: “what´s your opinion about brand “A”.

4. Furthermore, you can also ask comparative questions, i.e. about more brands, not only yours. Thus, you avoid the problem spontaneity and also obtain key information in comparison with competitors: “Now I would like to know your opinion on a number of brands…” 

5. After having follow all those steps it is commonly useful asking specific questions about your brand toward the end of the interview “what comes spontaneously to your mind when you see this logo?”

6. Whenever participants appears willing only to give monosyllabic answer, these being little more than “yes” or “no” try to formulate depth-provoking questions like “what do you mean by?” or, something that usually works, use long pauses to signify that you want to hear more. In other words, the silence is also a way of enquiring.

7. The most relevant information normally comes after confrontational questions. Whenever there is some contradiction on responses, a good interviewer should confront respondent. You can also use statistic or whatever material that contradict the responses and confront the participant with another point of view.

8. Toward the end of the interview it is common to formulate both confirmatory like “are you saying that…?” and summarizing questions like “Summarizing your opinion, you would be willing to buy this product if…”. Both provide final results with more consistent and also let interviewer give further explanation in case of misunderstanding.

9. Apart from the questions included on the guide in advance, you might, as long as you consider convenient and fruitful, include ad hoc question.

Reference

Lewis, Philip, Mark NK Saunders, and Adrian Thornhill. Research methods for business students. Pearson, 2009.

Silverman, D. (2011). Interpreting qualitative data. Sage Publications Limited.

What is a market research interview?

What does first spontaneously come to your mind when listen the word “interview”? May be a conversation between a journalist and a relevant personage on television? May be a job interview? Although an interview for market research may have many things in common with a job interview, there are a number of particularities to bear in mind. A market reserch interview is a purposeful discussion between two or more people (Kahn and Cannel, 1957) Bellow you can see what are the essentials of an interview.

1. Open-ended questions. Unlike in a questionnaire, the interviewee is not forced to choose among a set of options like bellow:

  1. Strongly disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Neither agree nor disagree
  4. Agree
  5. Strongly agree

On the contrary, the interviewee has absolute freedom to answer and does not need to stick to any preset categories. Actually, this is the essence and advantage of such technique, i.e. the possibility to obtain a spontaneous and non-conditioned answer. Some of examples are:

  • “Tell me about your relationship with your supervisor”
  • “How do you see your future?”
  • “What is the purpose of government?”
  • “Why did you choose that answer?”

3. Representation. When doing a research on trainers shoes consumptions, you must interview young people, adults and elder, or whatever other relevant categorization. It is going to assure a correct representation of the phenomena. Take into account that representation does not imply representativeness. When applying interviews in your research, the sample is usually low, 15 or 20 cases is enough. But these figures are insufficient to do inferences. On the contrary, other techniques like survey are precisely designed for reliable inferences.

4. Interaction. As well as other qualitative techniques as focus group, interaction is both the main advantage and handicap. On the one hand, the direct and close interaction interviewer-interviewee allows a deeper understanding. However, the way interviewer behaves may affect the answers. How do should behave? This question will be answer in future posts, but here is enough to say that a good interviewer must be neutral and refrain from giving his or her personal opinion.

Reference

Kahn, R. L., & Cannell, C. F. (1957). The dynamics of interviewing: theorie, technique, and cases. Cited in Philip, Mark NK Saunders, and Adrian Thornhill. Research methods for business students. Pearson, 2009
Martínez, P., & Rodríguez, P. M. (2008). Cualitativa-mente. ESIC Editorial.
VALLES, M. (2002). Entrevistas Cualitativas, CIS, Cuadernos Metodológicos nº 32S, Madrid. Trabajo personal de lectura y comprensión Trabajo personal para obtener informaciones de diversas fuentes Trabajo personal de análisis y síntesis.