Market Research 101: In-Depth Interview Guide


When conducting market research, you need to choose the right method to gain valuable information from your target market. There are various ways to collect data from spreading questionnaires to carrying out an in-depth interview. For those of you who don't have experience in conducting an in-depth interview, you can use this in-depth interview guide. 

What is an In-Depth Interview?

Basically, an in-depth interview is a type of qualitative data collection where you can obtain more in-depth information from each respondent. While a questionnaire focuses on collecting a large number of data, an in-depth interview has advantages in collecting deeper information. The reason is that an in-depth interview involves direct and one-on-one engagement between interviewer and participant so the question can be expanded as you want. 

What is the Purpose of an In-Depth Interview?

Like being mention previously, in-depth interviews don’t stop at superficial answers. Its purpose is to collect detailed information that you can’t get only by using a survey or questionnaire. There are 3 characteristics of an in-depth interview. 

1. Flexible 

There is a general guide to keep the interview on track. However differ from a questionnaire, you can ask additional questions or dig deeper into each question in the middle of the interview. 

2. Interactive

An in-depth interview can encourage the respondents to answer each question honestly and completely rather than formally like on the other data collection methods. 

3. Generative

An in-depth interview not only gives you answers to your problems but also other information about your customers or target audiences that surely would be useful for your business in general. 

Types of In-Depth Interviews

1. Structured Interview

If you are conducting a structured interview, you need to create predetermined questions that you would ask during the interview. While it can help you finish the interview in a short time, it may limit the answers of the respondents.  

2. Unstructured Interview

On the other hand, unstructured interviews don’t follow the pre-determined question. Rather than an interview, it is more similar to casual conversations between interviewer and respondents. 

3. Semi-Structured Interview

In this type of interview, the researcher still creates initial questions and several themes, but the interview would be more flexible as respondents’ answers can change the flow of the interview. 

In-Depth Interview Advantages

1. Insightful Result

In the in-depth interview, the atmosphere is more intimate and comfortable so it is easier for the participant to answer a question about sensitive topics. 

2. Body Language Observation

Similar to Focus Group Discussion, an in-depth interview allows you to gain information from the change of tone, word choice, and body gestures which may be more valid rather than what the participant said. 

3. Fewer Participants

While doing in-depth interview require times and efforts, you can gain more information from a fewer sample (if you implement the right in-depth interview guide) compared to other data collection methods. 

In-Depth Interview Disadvantages

1. Time-Consuming

To gain valuable insight, you may need to hold a minimum of 1-hour interview per participant. After that, you need to transcribe, organize, summarize, and analyze the result. While in-depth interviews give many advantages regarding the quality of data, it is not easy to be conducted. 

2. Strict Selection

In the Questionnaire method, you can gather data from 100 – 1000 participants in a short time. Focus Group Discussion allows you to gain insights from 8-15 participants in less than 2 hours. On the other hand, you need to prepare around 1 hour to conduct an in-depth interview. It is important to choose participants that can give you an objective and valuable answer. 

3. Choose the Interviewer

An interviewer can determine the quality of your interview and data. A great interviewer should have adequate knowledge about the topic, years of experience as an interviewer, and able to create a comfortable setup for the participant. 

In-Depth Interview Guide for Your Research

1. What are your aims?

Imagine going to the middle of the mountain without a compass or anyone to lead direction. It would surely be a disaster. The same thing also applies when you conduct an in-depth interview. It is important to understand the objective behind your interview when crafting your question. 

For example, If you want to know people’s thought about your website landing page, you may prepare open-ended questions like “What do you think about the newest design of our website?”, “How did you find navigating our website”, etc. 

When you have identified your goals, it will be easier to create various questions without going to stray from the main topics. 

2. Determine the scope

Before conducting an interview, remember to define the scope or size of the sample. In an interview, it is hard to have a large sample. Quality is more important than quantity. Rather than interviewing 100 people for 5 minutes per each interview, it is better to interview 10 people for 1 hour to get comprehensive insights. 

3. Stick to the time limit

Even if you have a lot of time on your plate, you should be mindful of the respondents’ time. People can only focus for a limited time. A maximum of 1-hour interview can ensure the answer quality of the respondents. 

4. A mix of questions 

A good question can provoke a good answer, and that means high-quality data for your research. There are 3 types of questions that you can prepare. 

  • General Question
    By asking light-hearted questions to the respondents, you can make them more comfortable and answer your question with ease. 
  • Detail-Oriented Question
    Afterward, you can start asking general questions that are related to your research topic.
  • Insight-Based Question
    As the respondents get used to the interview, you can ask more specific questions that require in-depth answers. 

5. Avoid leading questions

In an interview, you should avoid leading questions that may influence the respondents’ answers. This way, you can obtain objective data to support your research. 

For example, rather than asking “Can you tell me what do you like about our application?”, you can ask more neutral questions like “What do you think about our application?”

And that is all about in-depth interviews, including an in-depth interview guide that you can use for your research. If you have any follow up questions or would love our help to do one for you, we're just a contact us page away!