How to Manage Depth Interviews

A Guide to Conducting In-Depth Medical Market Research Interviews

The in-depth interview is of huge value when it comes to the collection and analysis of qualitative medical market research data. It’s a tried and tested methodology which is most often carried out in a one-to-one format in person, by phone, or online. Key to the success of this kind of interviewing is that the interviewee feels relaxed and able to focus on the subject matter being discussed.

An experienced moderator will be able to create the ideal conditions for an in-depth interview, whether it’s taking place in Mexico, Manchester, Brazil or Birmingham. It’s all about recognising the needs of the interviewee, empathising with the challenges of their working context, and anticipating any problems that might arise.

Here’s our guide to creating the ideal conditions for in-depth interviews, wherever they’re taking place.

1. Choose the Venue Carefully

In-depth qualitative research interviews require concentration and focus. It’s important, therefore, to get the venue right. Ideally, the respondent will suggest the space that would suit them best. This may be their office, their home or a location arranged by the moderator. Where the interview is taking place by phone, or online, the options are more varied – so long as the environment is quiet, appropriately private, and easy for the respondent to access.

2. Understand Your Respondents’ Context

For the moderator, the in-depth interview will be a priority. Whereas, for the respondent, it’s an event that has to be slotted in to numerous other calls on their time. Events that may possibly disrupt the respondent include: overrunning appointments, need for immediate consultation, emergency patient surgery, change in medical treatment schedules, delivery of conference papers, or being too ill to attend.

When initially contacting interviewees, we ask them to select the appropriate time. Additionally, at the start of the interview, our first question is to confirm that the time is still convenient. Furthermore, we are always understanding when the interview needs to be interrupted.

3. Familiarise Yourself With the Cultural Context

Obviously, you need to know what the time is in Brazil when trying to set up an in-depth interview there (and be aware of daylight savings time differences!). But there’s a whole range of factors that have to be taken into consideration when managing in-depth interviews at home or abroad:

  • If planning for the UK, check the local traffic conditions for any major hold ups
  • Watch out for weather events, or high profile crimes that might impact the schedule
  • Check for cultural festivals which might impact on interviewee’s availability
  • Research the political conditions – are they stable, or disrupted? And could that impact the interview?

4. Prepare for Interview Disruption

If you plan for perfection, you’re likely to be tearing your hair out pretty quickly! At LDA Research we accept that, given the nature of the healthcare sector, it’s more likely than not that most interviews will be subject to some type of disruption. So we plan for the disrupted interview by briefing moderators carefully for this eventuality. They know the interview may be interrupted or may go on longer than planned. They'll be aware of the overall intent of the research and the key questions, so they will be ready to summarise, recover and re-energise interviews when necessary.

5. Provide Respondents with the Resources They Need

This is where we think out of the box. The data our respondents provide is hugely valuable to us, so we need to demonstrate our readiness to go the extra mile for it. It all comes down to putting the respondent at the centre of the experience, then everything tends to fall into place. Here are our top tips:

  • Should  you have any concerns at all about language barriers, hire a good translator who is experienced in this kind of work
  • When interviewing face-to-face, find out if the interviewee needs any disability support
  • If providing refreshments in face-to-face in-depth interviews, check dietary requirements. Or if there are multiple participants, have a range of options for various dietary requirements (e.g. allergies, vegan choices, halal choices)
  • Be prepared for poor, or disrupted connections, and have back-up plans that have been discussed in advance
  • If you sense that that the respondent is becoming distracted, or tired, have options for taking a break and then continuing

LDA Research Provides Global Eyes and Ears for Clients

Our clients rely on us to provide them with the breadth and depth of global medical market research they require. We take our responsibilities extremely seriously and will do everything we can to deliver rich qualitative data. First and foremost, this means detailed and creative planning at every stage of the process. And well-briefed expert moderators who are able to adapt and be flexible, without losing focus and concentration.