Interview: Personal interview, Focused group, In-depth Interview

30/01/2021 1 By indiafreenotes

Personal interview

Personal interviews are one of the most used types of interviews, where the questions are asked personally directly to the respondent. For this, a researcher can have a guide online surveys to take note of the answers. A researcher can design his/her survey in such a way that they take notes of the comments or points of view that stands out from the interviewee.


  • More complete answers can be obtained if there is doubt on both sides or a particular information is detected that is remarkable.
  • When the interviewees and respondents are face-to-face, there is a way to adapt the questions if this is not understood.
  • The researcher has an opportunity to detect and analyze the interviewee’s body language at the time of asking the questions and taking notes about it.
  • Higher response rate.


  • Contacting the interviewees can be a real headache, either scheduling an appointment in workplaces or going from house to house and not finding anyone.
  • They can generate distrust on the part of the interviewee, since they may be self-conscious and not answer truthfully.
  • They are time-consuming and extremely expensive.
  • Therefore, many interviews are conducted in public places, such as shopping centers or parks. There are even consumer studies that take advantage of these sites to conduct interviews or surveys and give incentives, gifts, coupons, in short; There are great opportunities for online research in shopping centers.
  • Among the advantages of conducting these types of interviews is that the respondents will have more fresh information if the interview is conducted in the context and with the appropriate stimuli, so that researchers can have data from their experience at the scene of the events, immediately and first hand. The interviewer can use an online survey through a mobile device that will undoubtedly facilitate the entire process.

Focused group

A focus group is qualitative research because it asks participants for open-ended responses conveying thoughts or feelings. The other prominent research type is quantitative research. This is more data-driven research that uses surveys or questionnaires to derive numerical-based statistics or percentages.

With qualitative research, researchers seek more open and complete perspectives on the brand or product. However, more general interpretations and uses of the research are necessary, since you cannot as easily break down the research into facts.

Steps to conduct focus group research

  • Recruit the right participants

A researcher must be careful while recruiting participants. Members need adequate knowledge of the topic so that they can add to the conversation.

  • Choose a moderator

Your moderator should understand the topic of discussion and possess the following qualities:

  • Ensures participation from all members of the group.
  • Regulates dominant group members so others may speak.
  • Motivates inattentive members through supportive words and positive body language.
  • Makes the executive decision to end or continue a discussion should it become too heated.

Verify your moderator doesn’t know any of the participants. Existing relationships between a member and moderator cause bias and can skew your data.

  • Record the meeting for future purposes

While conducting a focus group, it is essential to record the sessions or meetings. A researcher can record the discussion through audio or video. You must let participants know you’re planning to record the event and get their consent.

  • Write clear discussion guidelines

Before the session starts, it is crucial to write down clear session guidelines. Include key questions, expectations of focus group members, whether you’re recording the discussion, and methods of sharing results. Give out the instructions in advance and request participants to comply with them.

  • Conduct the session and generate a report

Once participants understand their role, the moderator leads the focus group survey. You can ask members to fill out a feedback form to collect quantitative data from the event. Use your data and generate reports on the overall findings of your study.

  • Use the data to make a plan of action

Share your report with stakeholders and decisionmakers in your organization. A good report helps you design actionable plans to improve products or services according to the focus group feedback. Update focus group members on the changes you make and the results of those changes.

In 1991, marketing and psychological expert Ernest Dichter coined the name “Focus Group.” The term described meetings held with a limited group of participants with the objective of discussion.

  • You use a focus group in qualitative research. A group of 6-10 people, usually 8, meet to explore and discuss a topic, such as a new product. The group shares their feedback, opinions, knowledge, and insights about the topic at hand.
  • Participants openly share opinions and are free to convince other participants of their ideas.
  • The mediator takes notes on the discussion and opinions of group members.
  • The right group members affect the results of your research, so it’s vital to be picky when selecting members.

Types of focus groups

  • Dual-moderator focus group: There are two moderators for this event. One ensures smooth execution, and the other guarantees the discussion of each question.
  • Two-way focus group: A two-way group involves two separate groups having discussions on the topic at different times. As one group conducts their study, the other group observes the discussion. In the end, the group that observed the first session performs their conversation. The second group can use insights gained from watching the first discussion to dive deeper into the topic and offer more perspective.
  • Mini focus group: This type of group restricts participants to 4-5 members instead of the usual 6-10.
  • Client-involvement focus group: Use this group when clients ask you to conduct a focus group and invite those who ask.
  • Participant-moderated focus group: One or more participants provisionally take up the role of moderator.
  • Online focus group: These groups employ online mediums to gather opinions and feedback. There are three categories of people in an online focus panel: observer, moderator, and respondent.

Benefits of Focus Groups

A focus group is generally more useful when outcomes of research are very unpredictable and you’re looking for more open feedback rather than comparisons of potential results as in a quantified research method. A focus group also allows consumers to express clear ideas and share feelings that do not typically come out in a quantified survey or paper test. Because of the open conversation among group members, topics and discussions are freer flowing and members can use comments from others to stimulate recall.

Another benefit is that the moderator can observe the dynamics among members of the focus group as they discuss their opinions with each other. In many of these groups, the moderator will leave the room to allow focus group members to communicate with each other without feeling self-conscious. This type of honest commentary can often yield nuggets that you can later use to further refine your marketing strategy and your messaging.

Drawbacks of Focus Groups

“Groupthink” is a primary concern with focus groups. When you bring a group of people together to talk about a brand, the tendency exists for influential group members to affect the expressions of others within the group. Additionally, consumers are often more reluctant to express negative ideas in a face-to-face setting than in a more indirect research format when they know the company is conducting research.

Another major drawback of a focus group is that if you don’t hire a good moderator, it can be difficult to elicit the full range of thoughts, opinions, wants and needs of the group. And if your moderator is weak, some focus group members may not feel comfortable enough in the environment to offer their opinion.

In-depth Interview

As with all data collection methods, including (but not limited to) online surveys, direct mail surveys, email surveys, focus groups, mystery shoppers and so on, there are both advantages and disadvantages of in-depth interviews.

A type of qualitative research involving an unstructured personal interview with a single respondent, conducted by a highly skilled interviewer. The purpose of in-depth interviews is to understand the underlying motivations, beliefs, attitudes, and feelings of respondents on a particular subject.

In-Depth Interview Advantages

  • Interviewers have greater opportunity to ask follow-up questions, probe for additional information, and circle back to key questions later on in the interview to generate a rich understanding of attitudes, perceptions, motivations, etc.
  • Interviewers can establish rapport with participants to make them feel more comfortable, which can generate more insightful responses, especially regarding sensitive topics.
  • Interviewers can monitor changes in tone and word choice to gain a deeper understanding. (Note, if the in-depth interview is face-to-face, researchers can also focus on body language.)
  • There is a higher quality of sampling compared to some other data collection methods.
  • Researchers need fewer participants to glean useful and relevant insights.
  • There are none of the potential distractions or peer-pressure dynamics that can sometimes emerge in focus groups.
  • Because in-depth interviews can potentially be so insightful, it is possible to identify highly valuable findings quickly.