In-depth Interview Introduction

An “In-depth interview” is a qualitative research method in which a one-on-one conversation takes place between an interviewer and a respondent. An in-depth interview is a special form of an open interview. This method is very suitable for the accurate, and often also a long-term, in-depth exploration of the topics of conversation presented.

In-depth interviews can be done digitally
In-depth interviews can be done digitally

In the conversations, not only personal and emotional aspects are offered, but thoughts and motivations about certain topics are also retrieved. The in-depth interviews often take place in a respondent’s familiar environment.

Prior to an in-depth interview, a semi-structured discussion points list is drawn up. A general interview schedule with predetermined, generally formulated questions is drawn up. It is allowed to deviate from these questions. The interviewer must ensure that there is proper questioning about underlying motivations and thoughts so that detailed information is released. In general, a maximum of one hour is allowed for an in-depth interview.

An alternative to the in-depth interview method is the Delphi method (named after the oracle of Delphi). This is about feedback from the interviewer to the respondent after the first phase of the research. A second investigation will be conducted on the basis of this feedback. By feeding back the findings, a great deal of agreement and consensus is sought.

Executing the Method

  • Step 1: Create a Topic List

    Making a topic list prior to an in-depth interview is crucial. Write down all necessary topics with the corresponding questions, in a structured way. The topic list thus forms a guideline and in this way, a conversation can take place in which all topics are offered.

  • Step 2: Choose Location

    Choose a location where the respondent feels safe.

  • Step 3: Start In-depth Interview

    Provide recording equipment (in consultation with the respondent) and start the in-depth interview. Use the topic list during the interview, so as not to forget certain topics and questions. Summarize the respondent's statements during the interview and feedback the saying so that no misunderstandings arise.

  • Step 4: Give Feedback

    Transcribe the in-depth interview and feedback the findings to the respondent. Optionally, opt for the Delphi method, with a second examination, when more detailed information is required.


Advantages & Disadvantages

  • No conclusion can be drawn from one in-depth interview that applies to a specific target group.