A qualitative data collection method, in-depth interviews offer the opportunity to capture rich, descriptive data about people’s behaviours, attitudes and perceptions, and unfolding complex processes. They can be used as a standalone research method or as part of a multi method design, depending on the needs of the research.
Depth interviews are normally carried out face to face so that a rapport can be created with respondents. Body language is also used to add a high level of understanding to the answers. Telephones can also be used by a skilled researcher with little loss of data and at a tenth of the cost.
The style of the interview depends on the interviewer. Successful in-depth interviewers listen rather than talk. They have a clear line of questioning and use body language to build rapport. The interview is more of a guided conversation than a staccato question and answer session.
The interview is conducted using a discussion guide which facilitates the flushing out of the respondent’s views through open ended questioning. Projective techniques can be incorporated into the interview too.