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Being a popular technique for qualitative research, research interviews are a process of conversing with respondents through open-ended questions and collecting elicit data related to a subject. In most cases, the person who conducts the interview is a subject matter expert (SME) intending to understand the respondents’ perceptions in a well-planned manner through the use of detailed questions & answers. While interviews look similar to surveys and focus groups in case of gathering information from a group of the target audience but their operation is completely different. As focus groups are used among a small group of people (mainly 6-10 individuals), surveys are considered to be quantitative in nature. To conduct interviews a sample from the population is taken and then an interview is framed using a conversational tone.
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A researcher conducts interviews to gather information from a group of participants that can be obtained by either meeting or connecting personally with them. An interview provides a great platform to the researchers for convincing their participants to share inputs related to a subject in detail. There are three types of interviews used in the process of market research:
Structured interviews are the research tools known for their extreme rigidity in operations as they don’t allow any scope of prodding participants to gather effective results. These interviews are known as standardized interviews and these follow a significantly quantitative approach. With pre-defined questions included on the basis of the required detail of information, structured interviews are highly preferred in survey research. It also plays a key role in maintaining consistency among all the interview sessions.
Depending on the target population, the questions used in structured interviews can either be open-ended or closed-ended. While closed-ended questions can help to uncover respondents’ preferences from a list of answer choices, open-ended questions can help to dive deeper into a particular topic included in the interview.
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Semi-structured interviews are known for offering an allowable margin of freedom to the researchers for examining their respondents while following the basic interview structure. Even in the case of a guided conversation happening between a researcher and interviewees – there’ll be a significant amount of flexibility offered to the researchers. In this type of research interview, there’s no need for multiple interview rounds in the presence of structure.
According to the structure, researchers are free to follow any idea or take advantage of the complete interview. In order to gather information for research, additional respondent probing will always be needed. A semi-structured interview is mostly used in cases where the researchers don’t have time to perform research but need detailed information about a particular topic.
Being popularly known as in-depth interviews, unstructured interviews involve the conversations that are held with an aim to collect data about a specific research study. There are fewer questions in these interviews as they work like a normal conversation having an underlying subject.
Most of the researchers use an unstructured interview for establishing a bond with their respondents. This helps them to gather more insightful information as the respondents participate in the interview with full vigor and answer with 100% truthfulness. While the researchers don’t have to follow any guidelines, it enables them to approach the respondents in any manner they want for gaining as much information as possible.
In order to obtain the desired outcome through unstructured interviews, a researcher should consider the following factors:
There are three ways of conducting research interviews which include:
These interviews are highly preferred for market research, as these allow researchers to ask questions directly to their respondents. In this interview, a researcher can use a guide to take note of the answers given by a participant. Also, the survey can be designed in such a manner that the researcher can easily take notes of the comments without letting the interviewee know about them.
Telephonic interviews are a popular method of conducting market research and can be easily combined with online surveys. These interviews play a key role in effectively carrying out research.
As customers are moving towards a virtual world and everything is going digital, online research has experienced exponential growth and researchers need to adapt to this change. So, interviews conducted through emails or web pages have become more popular than ever. And that’s where an online survey can work!
However, the aim of your research will help to determine the type of interview you should use for data collection. According to the research design, researchers can effectively plan as well as test the questions they’ve included in the interview, for example, if the questions are appropriate and the survey goes in the right direction.
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