In-depth interviews

What it is

In-depth interviews are one-to-one interviews with users. The interviewer follows a discussion guide that enables the participant to go into detail about their service experience.

Why it’s useful

In-depth interviews allow researchers to capture detailed feedback on services and get a deep understanding of users’ experiences and expectations. Like intercept interviews they can help to test initial findings (or ‘hunches’) that have emerged from other research (e.g. ethnographies, quantitative analysis).

When to do it

In-depth interviews are often used at the beginning of a project,  in the prepare phase,  to better understand users’ current experiences of services and any difficulties they're having.

How to do it

  1. Interviews average from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. The length depends on how much the participant wants to share and the discussion guide.
  2. It’s important to check with the participant when arranging the interview, and when they arrive, that they have enough time available.
  3. Like other forms of qualitative research (e.g. ethnography, focus groups), you need to think about sample size and ethics (consent forms, incentives, information sheets).
  4. Choose an appropriate venue for the interviews – will you be travelling to see participants at a venue that is convenient for them or are you asking them to come to you?  Sometimes intermediary organisations make good venues, e.g. if you're looking  into how communities use the local library that may be a good meeting space.

Further resources