Market Research Interview Script Writing Tips

January 13, 2012

Market Research Interview

From time to time on this blog, I write market researcher how to guides and share tips and tricks of the trade. This week I will be sharing 6 tips on how to design, structure and write a market research interview script.

The interview script is a very important component of a market research interview. The design and structure of the script will be a major determinant of the quality and usability of the data it produces.

Below is a list of tips that will help you design a targeted, comprehensive, clear, concise and unbiased market research interview script:

#1. Determine your audience first before writing the script. Knowing how well-informed your target audience is will help determine how detailed you can make the questions and also determine how much context needs to be provided around each question.

#2. Know your objectives and plan your questions around them. Collecting meaningless data and information wastes valuable time with the respondent that could be used to collect meaningful data.

#3. Outline your script in a logical question order for your respondents. Build a cohesive and concise dialogue around the questions that lead the interviewee to the answers you seek.

#4. Be specific and get to the point of a question quickly. Minimizing the context necessary to produce informed answers is your goal.

#5. Don’t introduce unnecessary biases into the research. Following the 3 rules listed below will help you avoid doing so:

  • Make sure there’s no room for misinterpretation of a question.
  • Design questions that don’t lead respondents to one of the answer choices.
  • Randomize multiple choice answers so that answer position does not bias the responses.

#6. Engage your audience. High engagement levels lead to higher completion rates and more accurate data, as the interviewees will become more invested in your research. Engagement levels can be increased by doing the following:

  • Using a casual or conversational tone to better connect with your audience.
  • Not wasting the interviewee’s time with pointless questions.
  • Watching the use of slang that may not be understood or may be found offensive by the respondents.
  • Keeping questions short. Some respondents will have short attention spans and you will lose them with long-winded questions.
  • Making sure the answer lists to your questions are relevant and concise.
  • Always offering an opt-out answer (i.e. Don’t Know, Not Applicable, etc.) to the interviewee, so that you do not frustrate them.
  • Making sure that you are only asking questions that are relevant to each respondent group. One way to do this effectively is to segment the respondents by type at the very beginning of the interview.

Later this week, I will be writing a follow-up post on common question types used in market research interviews with short descriptions and a short review of the pluses and minuses of each question style.

Source: uSamp, “Tips for Creating Online Surveys.”

Marketing Manager, Pricing Strategy

<strong>Brandon Hickie</strong> is Marketing Manager, Pricing Strategy at <a href="">LinkedIn</a>. He previously worked at OpenView as Marketing Insights Manager. Prior to OpenView Brandon was an Associate in the competition practice at Charles River Associates where he focused on merger strategy, merger regulatory review, and antitrust litigation.