5 Components of a Market Research Interview Guide

market research interview guide

Is there anything better in market research than a good one-on-one interview with a knowledgeable participant?

The two-way communication creates a ton of dialogue accompanied by insights, market research nuggets, and recommendations to highlight in the report and take back to the client.

A high-quality in-depth interview (IDI) is one of the most rewarding experiences for an interviewer in market research.

But strong interviews do not just happen by chance. It takes...

  • Well-understood objectives.
  • Well-prepared market research interview guide.
  • A strong moderator or interviewer who knows how to build rapport quickly and dig deep into the mindset of the participant.

The objectives and strong moderator pieces are content areas we can cover for another day.

Below, our market research company shares 5 components of a market research interview guide giving you the tools to construct a document that will lead to more studs than duds in your qualitative market research project.

What is a Market Research Interview Guide?

Before diving into the important components that make up an interview guide, let's briefly discuss a quick definition.

Definition of an Interview Guide in Market Research
A document that outlines the timeline and questions of a qualitative recruiting study. A trained moderator or interviewer uses this document to guide the discussion in the direction based on the sponsoring client's objectives.


While qualitative research is great for probing participants to offer greater feedback on specific topics, it is important to create an interview guide to assure the conversation doesn't go off the rails.

It also helps to highlight the "must-ask" questions in case some participants take10-minutes to answer one question. 

The five most important components of a market research interview guide include:

  1. An introduction
  2. Warm-up questions
  3. General topic questions
  4. Core objectives 
  5. A conclusion

Let's dive into each of these sections in a bit more detail.

Interview Guide Component #1: Introduction

Hold your horses. Don't jump right into question one when it comes to market research interviews and qualitative research.

Participants need to be groomed. They need to settle in a bit in the early going. An introduction helps.

It lets them sit back and listen for a minute or 2 while you explain the process, what you will cover, how responses are confidential, and so on.

This is a must-include and a great starting point for your interview.

Interview Guide Component #2: Warm-up Questions

Remember what I said about starting slow? This continues that theme.

With warm-up questions, you want to ask some high-level questions before jumping into specific questions on the objectives of the client.

Some excellent warm-up questions include:

  • Where do you work now?
  • What are your role and responsibilities?
  • How long have you worked at the organization?

Everyone loves talking about their job (well, most everyone) so this is a great way to earn some early wins and get the participant comfortable for the main event.

Interview Guide Component #3: General Topic Questions

Okay, now you are ready for some relevant questions.

Ask about general topics which are questions related to your topic of interest.

Asking about general usage, image, awareness, decision-making factors, and other general topics is a great way to transition the participant down the path of the main reasons for the market research.

Interview Guide Component #4: Core Objectives

This is where you ask your core questions and specific areas you need feedback and answers for.

For example, if you are image testing, now is the time to share creative and collect feedback.

Whereas, if you are trying to understand major reasons as to why a customer left your bank, this is where you cover it.

The core objectives are the main drivers behind conducting the interview.

It usually involves at least 2 or 3 hot button topics or sections that need to be addressed during the in-person interview or phone call.

Interview Guide Component #5: Conclusion

Lastly, now it is time to wrap up the interview. Beyond the standard thank you and confirming address or email of where they would like their market research reward to be sent to we recommend some other options.

Our qualitative recruiting research company always asks if we covered everything the participant thought we might ask about? Is there anything we missed? Any final comments you want to add to your feedback?

This gives them one last chance to voice feedback.

We've pulled some excellent nuggets from this data because a lot of times the participant brings up a topic or issue that wasn't addressed as part of the guide.

Contact Our Qualitative Market Research Company

Drive Research is a national market research company specializing in in-depth interviews. We work with a variety of clients and industries across the country with their custom market research needs. This includes designing interview guides, qualitative recruiting, interviewing, and reporting.

Interested in learning more about our services? Contact our team today.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

Author Bio George Kuhn

George Kuhn

George is the Owner & President of Drive Research. He has consulted for hundreds of regional, national, and global organizations over the past 15 years. He is a CX-certified VoC professional with a focus on innovation and new product management.

Learn more about George, here.

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