How to Conduct Research Interviews
- Have questions prepared beforehand with clearly worded phrases and allowing for open-ended responses.
- In line with the legal compliance signed off on, acknowledging both you and the expert will not discuss anything confidential or proprietary – make sure your questions do not ask about sensitive information.
- Have a way to take or record notes to best transcribe the conversation.
- Explain the purpose of the interview.
- Address terms of confidentiality, such as who will get access to what is discussed during the interview, and how responses will be used.
- Just as in general best research practices, use as neutral language as possible to avoid wording that might influence answers.
- Ask questions one at a time.
- Begin with asking about more factual and basic questions and build up to any questions asking for more personal opinion or deeper insight.
- Exercise caution when asking “why” questions, which may make answers seem framed as cause and effect.
- Make sure there is time for the expert to share information on longer response questions, and to revisit any questions if necessary.