Respondent Interview

What is a respondent interview?

Respondent interviews are a classic market research approach. A respondent interview gives participants the chance to tell us how they feel about the stimulus materials.

Interviews are different from the other approaches we take here at the Moore DM Group Neuro-fundraising Lab, because they rely on self-report rather than subconscious, biometric markers. Respondent interviews are an important piece of the lab’s strategy and a great way to augment our data with additional insight.

What can respondent interviews tell us?

Respondent interviews are a great way to bolster the data we gather from our biometric methods. They provide context, additional information, clarification, and insight that other methods can’t provide. Respondent interviews are also a good way to find out which elements of a stimulus are most memorable and why.

Of course, self-report methods like interviews and surveys are sometimes unreliable (for example, because of social desirability biases, in which a respondent offers answers they think the researcher wants to hear; or because a respondent doesn’t have a fully formed opinion but offers one anyway simply to answer the question). At Moore DM Group Neuro-Fundraising Lab, we use respondent interviews in conjunction with biometric methods like GSR and EEG to gather as much data as possible about how potential donors react to stimuli.

How do respondent interviews work?

A respondent interview can be structured, with set questions we ask each person; or semi-structured, allowing participants to offer their perspective without too much guidance. Which strategy we use depends on the information we want to gather.

We often perform brief interviews pre- and post-stimulus in order to see if and how respondents’ opinions, beliefs, and knowledge about an organization or campaign change.

How can respondent interviews help your organization?

Respondent interviews can help you gain insight into how a typical prospective donor reacts to your fundraising campaign materials. Interviews are a great tool to answer questions like:

• Does the respondent’s answers match their emotional response and intensity, as measured using biometric methods?

• What factors might account for peaks and valleys in emotional engagement?

• If a respondent reacted strongly, either positively or negatively, to some element in the stimulus, do they know why?

• What are the most consciously memorable elements of a campaign?

• Are there particular themes, words, or elements that many respondents mention in their interviews, whether positive or negative?

Want to learn more?

There are many articles and books on the science behind respondent interviews. One of our favorites is:

Carolyn Boyce, MA and Palena Neale, PhD, Conducting In-Depth Interviews: A Guide for Designing and Conducting In-Depth Interviews for Evaluation Input

Contact us today to find out how Moore DM Group’s Neuro-Fundraising Lab can use respondent interviews to help you meet your organization’s goals.