The Pros and Cons of In-Depth Interviews
06 Feb 2020

While quantitative research helps companies quantify their business needs, qualitative research is necessary to dig into more specific information. Qualitative research can be accomplished in many different ways, one of the most known methods is focus groups. However, sometimes it’s worth it to conduct in-depth interviews with consumers.

An in-depth interview is exactly what it sounds like; a long conversation with participants about the specifics of what you are researching. Typically ranging from 15-60 minutes, a one on one interview of a participant can give you profound insights. The interviews are conducting using a discussion guide, that is prepared before the meeting. This acts as an outline for how the conversation will go and the interviewer will use it as a guide but can include additional prompts if they deem it necessary. The information gathered, like all qualitative, is directional in nature. Here are some pros and cons of conducting in-depth interviews.


In-Depth Insights

It’s no surprise that an in-depth interview would lead to in-depth insights. Oftentimes, surveys get answers on a wide range of questions but they are not flexible enough to get as detailed and specific with each respondent. As mentioned, if a respondent says something and the interviewer would like to gather more information, in-depth interviews are flexible, and they can prompt the interviewee to expand on the topic. Sometimes the most information lies in the details, and a long interview with a participant is the best way to get those details.

Additionally, in-depth interviews will force the interviewer to think creatively about what research they’re looking for. For example, if a consumer in an interview brings up reasoning for a decision that the researcher/brand hadn’t thought of before, now the researcher can explore that reasoning clearly with the consumer. 

Immediacy of Results

You know what the outcome/perspective is from each interview, and it can lead you in other directions and themes within your research.

Pairs Well with Quantitative Results

In-depth interviews can also humanize survey results in a way that is otherwise difficult to understand. For instance, if your survey includes answers to questions about your product or brand, the in-depth interview is the best time to investigate those discrepancies/points with a real-life consumer who may give you additional insight. In-depth interviews can be used for stand-alone research, but they are probably best used in tandem with other research.


Time Commitment

One of the difficulties with conducting an in-depth interview is the time it takes to do.  It is not just time-consuming for the researcher, but also for the interviewee. Typically, larger incentives are provided for in-depth interviews than other forms of research.

Randomness of Sample

One of the main issues with in-depth interviews is the randomness of the interviewee. Randomness is a key to surveying in an unbiased fashion. However, outliers do appear in a random sample, and an in-depth interview risks highlighting an outlier very closely. 

For example, your brand could select an interview of someone who holds an extremely negative view of your product or had a specific experience that informed their views. As a result, it’s important to correctly interpret an interview for what it is; a closer look at one person’s experience and perspective. It’s vital to understanding new perspectives on your product, but it is still just one perspective.


In conclusion, there are both pros and cons to in-depth interviews. In the end, it’s important to weigh all of them before making a research decision. They are a great tool that, if utilized correctly, can lead to great insight.

If your company is interested in conducting in-depth interviews or other market research, please reach out to [email protected], and we will be happy to schedule a call to discuss the research objectives with you.

In addition, check out Provoke Insights research services here.

Want to read more from Provoke Insights, find some more blog posts linked below:

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  3. 2020 Trends: Advertising & Marketing Industry
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  5. A New Way to Test Significant Differences
  6. Fin-Tech: How to reinvigorate your brand in a sea of sameness

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