Depth Interviews in Applied Marketing Research


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Slides for a lecture delivered by Dr. Kelly Page about the use and conduct of Qualitative Depth Interviews in Applied Marketing Research.

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Depth Interviews in Applied Marketing Research

  1. 1. Qualitative Marketing Research – Depth Interviews Week 4 (2) Dr. Kelly Page Cardiff Business School E: T: @drkellypage T: @caseinsights FB:
  2. 2. Summary Slide <ul><li>What Are In-depth Interviews? </li></ul><ul><li>Applications of Depth Interviews </li></ul><ul><li>Key Features </li></ul><ul><li>How Are We To Think Of An In-depth Interview? </li></ul><ul><li>The Art of a Good Interview </li></ul><ul><li>Interview Techniques & The Interviewer </li></ul><ul><li>Managing the Interview </li></ul><ul><li>Constructing a Discussion Guide </li></ul><ul><li>Wording Questions </li></ul><ul><li>Types of Probes </li></ul><ul><li>Tape-Recorded Interviews </li></ul><ul><li>Transcribing Interviews </li></ul><ul><li>In-depth Interviews: Advantages & Limitations </li></ul>
  3. 3. What Are In-depth Interviews? <ul><li>“ An unstructured, direct, personal interview in which a single respondent is questioned and probed by an experienced interviewer to uncover underlying motivations, beliefs, attitudes and feelings on a topic” </li></ul><ul><li>In-depth interviews aim to explore the complexity and in-process nature of meanings and interpretations that can not be examined using positivist methodologies. </li></ul><ul><li>In-depth interviews are more like conversations than structured questionnaires. </li></ul><ul><li>In-depth interviews stand in 'stark contrast' to structured interviews. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Applications of Depth Interviews <ul><li>Professionals </li></ul><ul><li>Children </li></ul><ul><li>Detailed probing </li></ul><ul><li>Confidential, sensitive, embarrassing topics </li></ul><ul><li>Avoiding strong social norms </li></ul><ul><li>Complicated behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>Competitors </li></ul><ul><li>Sensory experiences </li></ul>
  5. 5. Key Features <ul><li>A methodology that attempts to be more conversational and engaging , hence requires greater skill and experience. </li></ul><ul><li>The level of skill required means that it is common for interviews to be conducted by the researchers themselves. </li></ul><ul><li>It is both inductive and deductive , but often, it is assumed that all relevant questions are not known prior to the research </li></ul><ul><li>It makes use of some of the assumptions of grounded theory that attempts to build up understandings of general patterns and important issues through the process of interviewing . </li></ul><ul><li>It can involve a single half hour interview with each participant, or it may involve several sessions each of two hours duration, or up to twenty-five sessions in some cases. </li></ul>
  6. 6. How Are We To Think Of An In-depth Interview? <ul><li>An in-depth interview is like the half of a very good conversation when we are listening. </li></ul><ul><li>The focus is on the other person's own, meaning contexts. </li></ul><ul><li>Good interviewing is achieved out of a fascination with how other people make their lives meaningful and worthwhile. </li></ul><ul><li>It is this inquisitiveness that motivates the in-depth interviewer who uncovers new and exciting insights. </li></ul><ul><li>The hardest work for most interviewers is to keep quiet and to ‘listen actively’. </li></ul><ul><li>One of the most important skills to learn in interviewing is that of keeping silent. </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Art of a Good Interview <ul><li>Creative interviewing involves the use of many strategies and tactics of interaction, largely based on an understanding of friendly feelings and intimacy, to optimize cooperative, mutual disclosure and a creative search for mutual understanding. (Douglas, 1985: 25) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Interview Techniques <ul><li>Conducting a good in-depth interview is an art that cannot be achieved by following rules. But, there are many skills, rules of thumb and practical guidelines which may facilitate a good interview. </li></ul><ul><li>Its all about ‘experience’ : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>People often say things like: “My experience is very different to other people’s and may not interest you”, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Researchers need to reassure the participants that they are OK and their experiences, whatever it may be, is what we are interested in. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You may say: “We are interested in everyone’s experience of having a baby”, or “We think your experience of … is quite common and we are interested in our story”. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. The Interviewer <ul><li>Some argue that interviewers should be of similar age, gender, ethnicity, class, and sexual orientation to the people being interviewed. </li></ul><ul><li>This is not necessarily the case. But, in some cases, it may be appropriate to select particular types of interviewers. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g., in a study of living with HIV/AIDS, the gender of the interviewer may not be important if the interview focuses on working life. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But, it would be more appropriate for a woman to interview another woman about complications during her pregnancy rather than a male interviewer. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Managing the Interview (1) <ul><li>Once, a sampling strategy has been decided upon, there are things to be considered. </li></ul><ul><li>Introductions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Having someone introduce you is very helpful. If someone the participant trusts introduces you, the process of gaining their trust will have been already begun. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Permissions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It may be essential to obtain permission from formal or informal gatekeepers. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A database of participants can be very useful to ensure that all the appropriate phone calls and confirmations have been completed. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Time: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In-depth interviewing typically requires a relatively large investment of time and energy in recruiting participants and arranging the interview. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Managing the Interview (2) <ul><li>Location: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Deciding where to conduct the interview can be difficult. Most people will feel more comfortable and relaxed in their own homes. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Conduct: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>When the researcher actually arrives at the interview, you need to settle into the interview location and wait till the participant is ready. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not leave immediately soon after the interview is finished. Hang around for a cup of tea or chat is a good strategy. It makes the participant feel that you are really interested in his/her story. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>After an interview: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It is important for the researcher to have an opportunity to debrief with someone else working on the project, or familiar with the issues dealt with in the project. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This is particularly important when the topic deals with sensitive or emotionally charged issues. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Constructing a Discussion Guide <ul><li>Although the in-depth interviews are 'open' and often exploratory, a discussion guide , theme list or inventory of important topics is typically used. </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion guides are best kept to one-two pages. This ensures that it can be referred to without having to flip too many pages over, which can be very distracting. </li></ul><ul><li>It may also be appropriate to use a separate theme list for each interview. </li></ul><ul><li>The theme list is a useful place to take notes and record questions that should be returned to later in the interview. </li></ul><ul><li>At the beginning of interviews, explain the purpose of the interview and emphasis that we are interested in their story, that they are the expert. </li></ul><ul><li>Try to stress that the criteria for what is important or relevant are what the participant thinks is important. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Wording Questions <ul><li>While questions are not prescribed before hand, the general topics and themes of the interview are typically already decided upon. </li></ul><ul><li>Dialogue is best enabled through a questioning strategy they describe as 'no-knowing’ . Understanding is best gained through questions born of a genuine curiosity for that which is 'not-known' about that which has just been said. </li></ul><ul><li>Questions should be open-ended. </li></ul><ul><li>Questions that are best avoided include those that appear as if they are a test of knowledge. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Try not to ask questions that begin 'what do you know about this?’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rather, start with questions that invite people to share. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Such as: 'Tell me about that' . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It is also a good idea to avoid technical phrases. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Types Of Probes <ul><li>Elaboration probes - ask for more detail: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>'Can you tell me a little more about that?' </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>'What did she say to you?’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Continuation probes - encourage the participant to keep talking: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>'Go on.‘ or 'What happened then?' </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Body language such as a raised eyebrow can also serve as a probe. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Clarification probes - aim to resolve ambiguities or confusions about meaning: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>'I'm not sure I understand what you mean by that.' </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>'Do you mean you saw her do that?‘ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Attention probes - indicate that the interviewer is paying attention to what is being said: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>'That's really interesting.‘ or 'I see.' </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Types of Probes <ul><li>Completion probes - encourage to finish a particular line of thought: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>'You said that you spoke to him, what happened then?' </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>'Are you suggesting there was some reason for that?’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Evidence - seek to identify how sure a person is of their interpretation, and should be used carefully: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>'How certain are you that things happened in that order?' </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>'How likely is it that you might change your opinion on that?’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Participants often laugh in response to nervousness or ambiguity rather than simply because something is funny. If this is the case, laughter is often a good cue for a probe or further exploration </li></ul>
  16. 16. Closing the Interview <ul><li>Toward the end of interviews it may be worthwhile to reflect back to the participant some of the main themes of the interview, to check that the interviewer has understood the main responses and interpretations that have been described. </li></ul><ul><li>At the very end of an interview we always ask the participant if there is anything else that they think is important in understanding the issue under discussion, that has not already been covered. </li></ul><ul><li>This question sometimes produces surprising results suggesting a completely different approach to an issue or problem. </li></ul><ul><li>The key to asking questions during in-depth interviewing is to let them follow, as much as possible, from what the participant is saying. </li></ul><ul><li>Theme lists should not so much direct questions, as remind interviewers of the topics that need to be covered. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Tape-Recorded Interviews <ul><li>Practically, the interview must be taped so that we may capture what the participant say in-depth. </li></ul><ul><li>The recording of interview must be with the consent of the participant. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure that the tape and microphone are working. </li></ul><ul><li>Bring extra cassettes and batteries. </li></ul><ul><li>Quote: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I always try and use a tape-recorder, for some very pragmatic reasons: I want to interact with the interviewee, and I don’t want to spend a lot of my time head-down and writing. Also, the tape provides me with a much more detailed record of our verbal interaction than any amount of note taking or reflection could offer” (Rapley, 2004: 18) </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Transcribing Interviews <ul><li>All interviews must be transcribed for data analysis. </li></ul><ul><li>The careful attention to the tape required during transcription sensitises the interviewer to ways in which they could have asked questions differently or to cues that were missed. </li></ul><ul><li>Often, all conversations in the interview will be transcribed. </li></ul><ul><li>Researchers may want to include things like the length of pauses, other sounds like laughter or even ‘um’. </li></ul><ul><li>An indication of who is speaking is necessary, e.g., the researcher, the participants, family member (if present), etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Transcripts need to be checked through to ensure that technical terms and difficult areas have been correctly transcribed. </li></ul>
  19. 19. In-depth Interviews: Advantages <ul><li>In-depth interviews are an excellent way of discovering the subjective meanings and interpretations that people give to their experiences. </li></ul><ul><li>In-depth interviews allow aspects of social life, such as social processes and negotiated interactions, to be studied that could not be studied in any other way. </li></ul><ul><li>While it is important to examine pre-existing theory, in-depth interviews allow new understandings and theories to be developed during the research process, particularly grounded theory. </li></ul><ul><li>People's responses are less influenced by the direct presence of their peers during in-depth interviews. </li></ul><ul><li>People generally find the experience rewarding. </li></ul>
  20. 20. In-Depth Interviews: Limitations <ul><li>Investment: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In-depth interviewing requires considerable investments of time, money and energy. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This investment needs to weighed against the research problem and goals. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Evolution </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Understandings and experiences are developed from interview to interview. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By comparison, new ideas can be responded to immediately by all other participants in a focus group. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Skills </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In-depth interviewing is difficult to do well. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It requires persistence, and sensitivity to the complexities of interpersonal interaction. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It may not always be appropriate to delegate the task of interviewing to research assistants. </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Summary Slide <ul><li>What Are In-depth Interviews? </li></ul><ul><li>Applications of Depth Interviews </li></ul><ul><li>Key Features </li></ul><ul><li>How Are We To Think Of An In-depth Interview? </li></ul><ul><li>The Art of a Good Interview </li></ul><ul><li>Interview Techniques & The Interviewer </li></ul><ul><li>Managing the Interview </li></ul><ul><li>Constructing a Discussion Guide </li></ul><ul><li>Wording Questions </li></ul><ul><li>Types of Probes </li></ul><ul><li>Tape-Recorded Interviews </li></ul><ul><li>Transcribing Interviews </li></ul><ul><li>In-depth Interviews: Advantages & Limitations </li></ul>
  22. 22. The content of this work is of shared interest between the author, Kelly Page and other parties who have contributed and/or provided support for the generation of the content detailed within. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales. Kelly Page (cc)