In law school, aspiring lawyers are warned never to ask a question to which they do not already know the answer. Well, while this may be sound guidance in the legal realm, it is not applicable on the market research landscape, because the purpose is to generate fresh new insights — and that means creating effective market research interview questions is not just important, but it is essential. Here are 4 practices to achieve this goal:
Market Research Interview Questions Best Practice #1: Keep the Language Simple
It is safe to assume that interviewees are not market research experts, or even have more than a cursory grasp of the subject. As such, use simple language without any market research jargon. It is also important, where applicable, to use terms and words that are familiar to interviewees. For example, if questions are being posed to clinical staff in a medical practice, it would be better to use terms like “Electronic Health Records” instead of “databases where health records are stored,” and so on. In addition to helping interviewees more readily understand the questions, it helps the researcher establish and build credibility — which is especially important when dealing with professional-level audiences.
Market Research Interview Questions Best Practice #2: Keep the Language Simple
In order to generate valuable and insightful responses, there can be a temptation to load questions up with a lot of layers, often inserting prepositions and qualifiers that echo a high school algebra exam. This is fundamentally counterproductive, because it confuses — and often frustrates — interviewees. If necessary, break a complex question down into a set of shorter, simpler questions. With this being said, do not go to the other extreme and make questions so short that they are cryptic and impenetrable.
Market Research Interview Questions Best Practice #3: Logistics Matters
The order in which questions are asked has a major impact on the quality of generate dated, and often the quantity as well (i.e. interviewees are more comfortable, forthcoming, transparent, etc.). It is both a science and an art to sort and stack questions so that they are interesting and stimulating for interviewees to answer, while also help paint an insightful, unbiased picture that translates into valuable business intelligence.
Market Research Interview Questions Best Practice #4: Understand the Limitations
Just as there can be a tendency to load up on questions and ask for too much (and/or too soon), we have seen some inexperienced — or just incompetent —researchers fail to realize that, just as with any other data gathering methodology, there are limitations to interviews. The biggest one is typically cost, which results in interviewing too few interviewees, or not having a representative sample. Often, we have found that the best approach — both in terms of budget and quality of data — is to blend multiple methodologies (e.g. interviews, online surveys, focus groups, etc.).
To learn more about creating market research interview questions that generate fresh insights and lead to smarter, faster and more profitable business decisions, contact the Communications For Research team today to speak with our co-CEO Colson Steber about what we can do for you.
We can advise members of your in-house marketing team on what to do (and what not to do!), or we can handle the entire end-to-end market research project, including sourcing, screening and interviewing qualified participants, and creating reports and recommendations for each of your stakeholder groups (e.g. executives, operations, technical, etc.).
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