Individual and group interviews allow you to find out a lot. For example, about the impact of an activity, the course of a program, or the influences of different actors.
But how do you get the most out of your interviews?
- Make sure you are talking to the right people. Thoroughly explore your options in this respect. Who can answer the questions you have? What perspectives are out there?
- See if interlocutors can complement each other (group interviews) or tell more when they are alone (individual interview). When conducting a group interview, make sure that everyone gets a chance to speak.
- Make sure your interlocutor(s) feel at ease. Provide a pleasant space and beverages. Provide anonymity if necessary. Be polite and respectful to your interlocutor.
- Make sure your questions are consistent with your research topic and your interview questions are all-inclusive.
- Prepare your interview by formulating questions that are attuned to what your interlocutors know.
- In an introductory narrative, tell who you are, why you are conducting this research, your research question, who your client is, whether it is anonymous or not, and what the interview is essentially about.
- Formulate your questions in a way that your interlocutor understands them.
- Stay objective. Keep your opinions to yourself.
- Let your interlocutors finish speaking. Three seconds of silence does not mean that they finished speaking. They may want to think about the rest of the answer.
- Pay attention to your interlocutor's body language.
- Try to make the interview as natural as possible. Don't read the questions from your question list. Make a connection with what has already been said. Don't interrupt your interlocutor only to return to that topic later. At the end of the interview, check whether you have asked all the questions.
- Summarize your interlocutors’ answers so that they know you have understood them correctly and so that they hear the mainline repeated.
- Appeal to your interlocutor's responses.
- Monitor the time and adhere to the agreed-upon time. It is frustrating if you have not been able to ask some of your questions because your interlocutors have to go to their next appointment.
- Explain what happens to the conclusions of the interview. Also, explain what you will do with the report made of the interview (e.g., the audio recording). Will you use it only to refer to it yourself, or will you also publish it or hand it over to your client? In the latter two cases, make sure you give everyone feedback on the report.