Choosing the Right Setting for a Qualitative Interview
Conducting a qualitative interview outside a recording studio – for e.g. at a cafe, pub, or the interviewee’s house – can be challenging.
It therefore makes sense to spend some time thinking about the kind of setting you want to choose because it can affect the quality of responses you get as well as the quality of the recording you make.
In this article, we look at a few ways you can ensure that you pick the correct setting for your qualitative interview and get the best results:
Choose a quiet location
A quiet room is best for conducting a a qualitative interview.
If the outdoors are unavoidable, such as a restaurant or a park, choose a place that’s not too crowded.
At outdoor locations, check for distracting sounds like passing traffic, children playing or loud background music – all of these tend to break the interviewee’s chain of thought.
Recording tip: If you’re recording an interview at an outdoor location, surrounding noise like the sound of clinking cutlery or the wind can drown the voices of the participants. Use professional recording gear like a good digital voice recorder (see a list of good ones here) and microphones to ensure a good quality recording.
Put cellphones on silent mode, put a ‘Do-not-disturb’ sign on the door and tell people you are not be interrupted. Send the dog for a walk if necessary.
If you’re conducting the qualitative interview at the interviewee’s house or over the phone, convey to the interviewee the importance of an uninterrupted conversation and suggest ways to minimize distractions.
Conduct the interview in a relaxed environment
For a meaningful conversation to take place, it’s important for the interviewee to be at ease.
Choose a location that is comfortable, with no loud noise or light.
If possible, ask the interviewee where they’d like to be interviewed. Some people are comfortable being interviewed at home, others prefer the outdoors or a telephonic interview.
Set up the recording gear before the interview
Beginning on schedule is important. So connect any DVRs/cameras, plug in external microphones and set up your laptop well in advance.