One-on-one interviewing

with our theme of 'sense, senses and sensibilities', we do a lot of one-on-one interviewing at Susan Bell Research. I do love one-on-one interviewing because you get to know people in a way that you never can in a group discussion, whatever the format.

Here is a brief summary of the one-day course that I gave on one-on-one interviewing at the AMSRS Winter School in July 2015.1  It was really interesting to learn that  many of the course delegates are doing more and more one-on-one interviews by phone rather than face to face, with relatively little use of technology, so far anyway.


One-on-one face to face interviews are in many ways mini 'immersions', as the researcher goes into people's homes combining interview with observation, so they too have lots of value.

1.       Three of the main advantages of one-on-ones:

  1.  Understanding people in the context of their own lives
  2. Understanding how people make decisions and how they do things
  3.  Sometimes, simply more suited to the people we need to interview

 The three main skills that one-on-one researchers need:

  1.  Empathy and interest in other people
  2. Flexibility in approach - to cope with last minute changes and dramas
  3. Ability to 'analyse as you go'

We discussed how to build stimulus material, even games, into one on ones, and talked about the three different types of cognitive interviewing. I can't explain all that in a short blog piece, but suffice it to say that one-on-ones can be much more active and stimulating than plain 'question and answer' sessions.


and I have just received the evaluation scores: 100% satisfied , with 100% of delegates completing it. That makes the hard work worth it! Thank you everyone.

Tags: Qualitative Research

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