An in-depth interview (IDI) is a data collection process that allows interviewers to collect high-quality, detailed information from interviewees. Researchers often engage directly with respondents face-to-face, over the phone or on the internet. During in-depth interviews, researchers and participants have the freedom to explore additional points and change the direction of the process when necessary.
In-depth interviews can be very beneficial when a detailed report on a person’s opinion and behavior is needed. In addition, it explores new ideas and contexts that give the researcher a complete picture of the phenomena that occurred.
The benefits of conducting an in-depth interview include the following:
- They allow the researcher and participants to have a comfortable relationship to generate more in-depth responses regarding sensitive topics.
- Researchers can ask follow-up questions, obtain additional information, and return to key questions to gain a better understanding of the participants’ attitudes.
- The sampling is more accurate than other data collection methods.
Here are some steps to conduct an effective in-depth interview:
- Obtain the necessary information about the respondents and the context in which they operate.
- Make a script or a list of topics you want to cover. This will make it easy to add secondary questions.
- Schedule an interview at a time and date of the respondent’s convenience.
- Start with general questions and then move on to more specific ones.
- Use open-ended questions that encourage respondents to talk freely.
- Listen actively and take notes.
- Probe for more information when necessary.
- Summarize what you have heard to ensure that you have understood correctly.