In-depth interviewing is a qualitative analysis method which requires undertaking intensive individual interviews with a limited group of people to investigate their opinions on a given topic, project, or circumstance. For example, we might ask participants, employees, and others affiliated with a program about their program-related perceptions and aspirations, their feelings about certain program activities, procedures, and outcomes, and any improvements they see as a result of their program participation.
An IDI typically takes anywhere between 30-90 minutes and it can be done either online, in an online chatting platform environment, face to face or by telephone.
When you want accurate details about a person's feelings and actions or wish to discuss new topics in depth, in-depth interviews are helpful. Interviews are also used to provide explanations for certain statistics (such as result reports), giving a more detailed understanding of what happens and why in the system. You may have assessed a rise in youth attendance to a facility, for example, because by in-depth interviewing you can discover that a youth noticed that she was going to the facility as she spotted a new sign outside of the promotional youth hours clinic. You would also be able to interview a medical staff member to find out their stance on "youth friendliness" at the medical.
There are a lot of factors that determine whether or not it is a good idea to add in-depth interviews to your research mix. The most notable ones are mostly related to research objectives or research constraints, including timelines, budgets and other chosen strategies.
· In-depth interviews allow the interview and conductor to establish a rapport that can produce a lot of insightful information.
· In-depth interviewers have the opportunity to ask follow-up questions or re-cover key questions to gather rich information about perspectives and attitudes.
· Researchers can focus on the data presented by one respondent versus a whole group.
· In-depth interviews are opportunities to pinpoint valuable data points that can be used organization-wide.
· Interviewers can monitor changes in tone and word choice to gain a deeper understanding. (Note, if the in-depth interview is face-to-face, researchers can also focus on body language.)
· There are none of the potential distractions or peer-pressure dynamics that can sometimes emerge in focus groups.
· In-depth interviews are quite time consuming, as interviews must be transcribed, organized, analyzed, and reported.
· If the interviewer is not highly skilled and experienced, the entire process can be undermined.
· The process can be relatively costly compared to other methods. (However, telephone in-depth interviews vs. in-person can significantly reduce the costs.)
· Participants must be carefully chosen to avoid bias, and this can result in a longer vetting process.
· Participants typically expect an incentive to participate, and this must be carefully selected to avoid bias.
The process for conducting in-depth interviews follows the same general process as that followed for other research: planning, developing tools, collecting data, analyzing data and disseminating findings.
At DataDiggers we offer a variety of services, including IDIs. We conduct in-depth interviews in all the countries where we own strong and fast growing proprietary online panels across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas, as well as around the world via carefully chosen local partners.
The interviewees are either recruited in advance or, in case of the IDIs conducted online, they can be recruited in real time while they complete an online survey, based on their answers to previous questions. DataDiggers offers professional interviewers that are native speakers of each official local language in the countries we cover. This way we make sure that there is no bias caused by language difficulties and the respondent has a pleasant experience at the same time. In case client wants to use its own interviewer, we can also handle only the recruitment and the incentive parts, while client will do the rest.
All the IDI sessions are recorded and the end client (or other party involved) has the possibility to monitor the process in real time.
In conclusion, in-depth interviews are typically done after the benefits and drawbacks have been measured, but all of them follow the same course of action: preparing, developing instruments, training interviewers, gathering data, reviewing data and disseminating results. Regardless, it can be a highly effective research tool that can uncover valuable, insightful data if done correctly and with the right researcher.