A 13-Step Process for Executive Research Interviews | IDIs

In-depth interviews (IDIs) are a tried and true form of qualitative research that can provide a research team with a lot of insight. IDIs are exactly what they sound like, extended interviews with research participants (customers, non-customers, stakeholders) that allow the interviewer to dig deep into perceptions, thoughts, and a decision-making process. Essentially, an IDI works like a survey but allows for more probing on responses, includes more open-ended questions, and lasts at least 15 to 20 minutes. Typically there is some form of reward or incentive paid to the participant for spending the additional time with the researcher, beyond what a standard telephone survey would require.

A 13-Step Process for Executive Research Interviews | IDIs

What are the 13 steps to set up and complete in-depth interviews (IDIs) in research?


  1. Schedule time with your client or colleague to understand the scope, needs, and objectives.
  2. Design a proposal which includes key highlights (timeline, completes, recommended rewards.)
  3. Hold a kickoff meeting to confirm key objectives, review the IDI script, and discuss next steps.
  4. Draft a copy of the IDI script and share with your client or internal team.
  5. Review and finalize IDI script and review content for initial invitations to participants.
  6. Send or make invitations for research giving participants a window of availability.
  7. Conduct interviews by phone or in-person (consider digitally recording the interviews.)
  8. Write up case summaries of each IDI after completion while discussion is still fresh.
  9. Once fieldwork is complete compile thank you notes or emails to participants.
  10. Pay out rewards to participants.
  11. Summarize findings of the IDIs for your client or internal team with recommendations.
  12. Meet with your clients or colleagues in-person to discuss takeaways and answer any questions.
  13. Determine next steps of research, which could include a quantitative follow-up survey.

Drive Research is an executive interview firm in Syracuse, NY. Questions about our phone survey market research projects? Contact us at [email protected] or call us at 315-303-2040.

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