6 Step Process for Conducting Qualitative Research Interview

6 Step Process for Conducting Qualitative Research Interview

A qualitative research interview (often called an in-depth interview or IDI) is an excellent method for digging deeper on a topic, product, service or brand.

Their objective is to ascertain mindset and belief as a whole whereas quantitative surveys aim to measure.

When determining the best type of market research to use for the purposes of your study, it is important to speak with a market research specialist.

These experienced industry professionals will guide you to choose an approach that will lead you to either qualitative, quantitative, or both.

In this post, our market research company will walk you through the 6 step process of conducting a qualitative research interview.

The qualitative interview steps we will discuss in this blog include:

·      Define objectives

·      Gathering a list of goals

·      Developing a Recruitment Screener

·      Designing an interview guide

·      Fieldwork

·      Reporting

Let’s get started.

Step #1: Define Your Objectives

You will not have any good market research results unless you first understand your goals and objectives for the project.

General market research objectives answer the following questions:

·      What do you want to learn?

·      How do you want to use the results?

·      Who do you want to target for the interview?

These and other secondary objectives need to be clearly defined in these early stages.

Working with a qualitative research company will help you define these goals. The company will make a proposal for you along with the recommended methodology based on your objectives.

After both your team and the market research partner understand the goals of the research interview, a kickoff meeting is scheduled.

The main goal of kickoff and defining your objectives is to help guide future steps. This will set the stage for recruitment, interview questions and results.

Although this qualitative research is only the first step in the interview process, it is also the most important.

The Key Takeaway: Perhaps the most important, yet under-utilized, component of conducting a qualitative research interview is taking the time to first define your objectives. Establishing clear objectives will help your market research partner draft questions that most align with these goals.

Step #2: Gather your list of goals

After defining your objectives and understanding who you want to target, the next step is to define how you will pull up those lists.

Here are some important differences to keep in mind:

·      Business-to-consumer (B2C) projects typically see an opt-in rate of 1:10, which means you need to dial in at least 10+ records to schedule 1 interview.

·      Business-to-business ratios are like 1:20 or higher. It varies from project to project and client to client.

If you are conducting research interviews with clients or clients, you will probably have an in-house database list containing email, phone number and name. This is the easiest audience to reach and schedule.

However, if you want to interview non-customers, the process is more expensive and challenging because in many cases, these goals have nothing to do with your brand.

To get these lists you can buy one from the following sources:

·      Compile names and contacts through online secondary research (such as LinkedIn or online directories).

·      Pull from your sales or prospect database (such as Salesforce).

·      To recruit partners partner with a market research panel company that has scrutinized the lists.

The Key Takeaway: Whom do you want to get feedback from? Are there general demographics like age, gender, job title, etc.? While some audiences are more accessible than others, defining your participant criteria is essential before recruitment begins.

Step #3: Develop a Screener and Start Recruiting

Once you have the list defined and the number of interviews you want to conduct, the next step is to develop a screener.

This screener sets the recruitment criteria a participant needs to qualify. This may include questions such as age, role or title, specific buying behavior, etc.

The recruitment screener can be sent via email or used via a live phone call to qualify participants. If the participant qualifies, the next step is to book the interview date and time.

Our qualitative research company has found that they are more likely to stay on the phone or talk to you in person for longer periods of time if you can set aside time with the participant.

The key takeaway: Philomath Research recommends using a screening survey to collect a larger sample of eligible participants. By doing this, you can make follow-up phone calls for a list of people you know might be suitable for study rather than flying blind.

Step #4: Design an Interview Guide

Once recruitment begins, you should immediately begin designing your moderator guide.

Although you have a general understanding of your goals and objectives from Step 1, here you become strategic and turn those high-level objectives into real questions.

A guide for the interviewer is an excellent tool for keeping the conversation on topic and on time.

As with in-person or phone interviews, most research is conversational.

So, your script is likely to have its fair share of open-ended questions. Much more than a general survey.

Keep in mind that this will take time for the script. You should plan for about 1 question per minute (especially for open-ended ones).

That way if you have a 20-minute interview, you know that 20 questions (give or take) will keep you on time.

The Key Takeaway: Based on the objectives of the qualitative research interview, a market research company like Philomath Research, produces a custom interview guide that includes important questions and discussion points to study.

Step #5: Conduct the Interview

The next step is fieldwork.

This happens when you dial into a conference line or dial a participant directly (preferred).

Remember that you want to eliminate as much work as possible and make it easy for the research participant. It is easiest to call them directly at your allotted time.

You then follow up with your script and ask respondents questions to address their key objectives.

If participants elaborate on their open-ended and lengthy conversations, they’ll give you the benefit of the doubt when the interview is over.

The first few questions include a brief warm-up or easy questions to make the participant comfortable and build rapport before going more deeply.

The Key Takeaway: Now the real fun begins. In this phase of the process, a trained interviewer meets with research participants in person, over the phone or via Zoom. This is where in-depth feedback is gathered which will soon lead to business decisions.

Step #6: Develop your report

When conducting a research interview, you have several options.

You can take notes in real time, recap with notes after the interview, record the interview digitally, or transcribe the interview.

Any or all of these are employed by interviewers, and it really depends on your style.

At Philomath Research, we generally encourage our interviewers to record the conversation and revise the notes after the interview.

The Key Takeaway: A market research report outlines key insights and quotes gathered from qualitative research IDI. It is a deliverable that many customers use internally to help navigate next steps with business, marketing, operations, and other ROI-driven strategies.

Conduct qualitative research interviews with our team

Philomath Research is a qualitative market research company. We work with clients on both qualitative and quantitative custom-built research projects. The scope of our services is spread across the country, and we also have many international clients.

Interested in receiving offers or quotes for qualitative research? We will make it easy for you.

Contact us at if you’re feeling ambitious.

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