In-depth interview: Expert opinions and exploration of sensitive topics


In contrast to focus groups, the in-depth interview makes it possible to concentrate on one respondent. These individual interviews are conducted by an experienced research manager in an open discussion style, in which the sequence of topics in the guide is adapted to the course of the conversation. In-depth interviews are conducted when, for example, expert opinions are needed, or when detailed information on consumer or product user needs is required. In-depth interviews are also preferable to group discussions when dealing with sensitive topics, e.g. in the medical field, or when observing competitors in a highly competitive market.


In-depth interviews can be conducted by video-call, face-to-face in the test studio or, for example, at the respondent’s workplace (“at work”) or “at home”. It is important to create an atmosphere that is as conducive as possible to the subject.


The interviewer and the test person have a semi-structured conversation in which the test person appears as an expert in the topic to be discussed. This creates the prerequisite that unforeseen explanations, interests and new insights of the interviewee can also be addressed. The interviewer uses exploration techniques as required, as in focus groups.

Deep dive into the world of experiences


In the in-depth interview, the interviewer tries to uncover correlations between the objective benefit of a product or service and the value attitudes behind it.


Step by step, the interviewer approaches the underlying motivations of the consumer through background questioning. The interviewer starts with the obvious features. With each question, the interviewee is led step by step from the original product benefit to the deeper emotional benefit structure. This is done by questioning each benefit mentioned. In this way, hidden motives and attitudes are uncovered.


The analysis shows the correlations between product or service characteristics and benefit expectations and values. From this, above all, communication concepts can be developed that are optimally tailored to the ideas of the respective consumers.


Flexible and imaginative


The interaction with the consumer is flexible and allows the spontaneous consolidation of unexpected insights, e.g. to learn more about buying behavior in specific situations. Ideas for improving a product or service can also be taken up and further developed, e.g., to validate them with the next test person.


Length of interview and sample size


In-depth interviews vary in length from 30 to 120 minutes, depending on the complexity of the topic. Typically, between 10 and 20 people are interviewed.



In-depth interviews enable detailed analysis of your customers' personal habits, experiences and requirements.