A Guide to Qualitative Research Interview Questions

Not everything can be answered by doing a survey or quantitative research. A qualitative research interview is more appropriate if your research aims to gain an in-depth understanding of the underlying factor and causes of something. This guide presents some examples of qualitative research questions for interviews to better grasp a topic.

What Is a Qualitative Research?

Qualitative research traditionally uses interviews, focus groups, personal diaries, and memories of events to record people’s perspectives of a phenomenon. People are asked to share their thoughts, feelings, opinions, and experiences with a research study.

Moreover, qualitative research can be used to analyze the lives of individuals, groups, and even populations. But more often, it is used to analyze behavior.

What Is a Qualitative Research Interview?

Qualitative research interviews are used to close a gap in what we know about a specific issue. It also explores issues from different perspectives to understand how people interpret a situation.

The process of conducting these interviews is less focused on quantifiable data and more focused on in-depth dialogue about the issue being researched. A qualitative research interview is typically conducted in person with one individual and can last between one and four hours.

A man writing on a paper placed over a wooden table
Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

Tips & Examples of Qualitative Research Questions for Interviews

The questions you ask during an interview can significantly affect the quality of the data the interviewer will gather. Careful consideration must be given to the questions asked during the interview and the wording used. You can maximize the quality of the interview data only by factoring in these specific aspects.

Qualitative research interview questions are structured in a way that helps the interviewer and participant understand the topic at hand. Here are some tips with examples to write good qualitative research interview questions.

Avoid Asking Leading Questions

If the overall goal of your qualitative research is to uncover new insights, you should avoid leading questions. Instead, take an open-ended approach that allows interviewees to reply in their own words.

Leading: Why do you prefer to use our service?

Open-ended: How do you feel about using our product?

Keep a Mixture of Behavioral & Attitudinal Questions

People frequently have beliefs that contradict the way they behave. Combining attitudinal and behavioral questions will help you learn what a person does and their thoughts on their actions.

To better grasp their beliefs and motives, ask them attitude-based questions. Behavioral questions are used to learn more about a participant’s behavior.

Attitudinal: How often do you go shopping?

Behavioral: How many times did you go shopping last week?

Avoid Asking Double-Barreled Questions

Interviewers sometimes want to ask several questions at once and end up asking double-barreled questions. These types of questions cover multiple topics at a time. Respondents can find it overwhelming as they try to answer both questions and often only answer a portion of them. Splitting your questions into two parts is preferable if you need to cover multiple topics.

Double-Barreled: How satisfied are you with our product quality and packaging?

Avoiding Double-barreled:

  • How satisfied are you with our product quality?
  • What do you think about our product packaging?

Ask Open-Ended Questions Instead of Closed Ones

Closed questions lend themselves to a one-time response. Instead, ask open questions which elicit a more expansive response.

Ask open-ended questions to learn about people’s interests, goals, and pain points. They provide the participant a chance to express themselves freely.

Closed Question: Do you like reading fictional books?

Open-Ended Question: What are your thoughts on fictional books?

Conclusion

Qualitative research is where you can find out what is happening in a person’s life, and they give you their thoughts and feelings. Rather than observing people, qualitative research is done with people themselves.

Qualitative research is helpful in various contexts, such as academic research, business intelligence, education, and advertising. This article provides you with some tips and examples of qualitative research questions for interviews.

A Guide to Qualitative Research Interview Questions

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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