Questionnaires often provide the numbers behind impact
Non-urgent advice: Important
An impact interview can be used to collect a ‘story’ which can be used to promote the knowledge and library services and gain a deeper understanding of a service you wish to develop supplement data that has been obtained via a questionnaire.
Questionnaires often provide the numbers but the interview will provide the 'how' and the 'why' behind the numbers
Why conduct an interview?
- It can provide qualitative data which will help understand the impact of a specific service.
- This could be the impact on an individual or how information has been used.
These three documents are for use an impact interview:
- B1a Interviewers record sheet for recording the comments made by the interviewee
- B1b Interviewees copy of questions these can be shared in advance with the interviewee
- B1c Interviewees consent form essential so that you can use the impact data in your marketing and promotion materials and share more widely for national use
You need to consider the following points prior to arranging interviews:
Who is conducting the interview?
It may be more appropriate to obtain an external interviewer. Librarians in neighbouring Trusts may be willing to do this on a reciprocal basis
Think about influencing factors of the surrounding environment
Think about whether the way you have selected the sample could lead to overly positive (or negative) results
Does the interview need to be ‘in person’? Can it be delivered by email or over the phone?
Selection of interviewees
Can this be:
an opportunistic selection of candidates from a group or library visitors
targeted users of a specific service
a list of recommended people to interview by a key individual
- Some types of sample selection could provide biased results
- Do not approach people for interview who have previously expressed a desire not to be approached as this will breach GDPR
Incentives for interviewees
Are you offering any incentive to improve uptake e.g. prize draws, give-aways, forgiving library fines?
Length of interviews
Approximately 10 mins if you are looking for a few promotional quotes
Up to 60 mins for research you are considering putting forward for publication
Can you meet after a meeting or at lunch-time?
Remember to be flexible
Remember to share this information about the interview with participants prior to the interview to help them manage their expectations.
Managing the interview process
Once prepared, find a volunteer to test your interview skills on and reflect on the feedback
You may also want to practice using any recording equipment or how you record your notes as this will affect what you can get out of the interview
Prepare the list of interview questions in advance
Have suitable prompts to help the participants further understand the meaning of the questions
Share the questions with the participant prior to the interview to give them some additional thinking time
Be flexible in your questions and seek clarification on specific points
Cost savings: it is especially powerful for advocacy and marketing to be able to quote a specific cost saving (e.g. £10,000)
If the specific cost saving has not been calculated ask the interviewee to provide an informed estimate of cost savings
Time savings: ask how much time has been saved and what level of staff was involved (consultant / nurse, etc.)?
If other impacts have been acknowledged, obtain enough detail to be able to tell the story of how specifically – for example “Patient Care” – has been improved
Environment of the interview
The interview should be as open and informal as possible
The more conversational, then the more useful information you are likely to obtain
Think about how to create a comfortable environment and how to put people at ease
Skills of the interviewer
The interviewer should be confident at communication and a good listener
Respondents should be left time to think and respond to the questions
The interviewer needs to remain attentive and be encouraging. Try not to lead the respondent
Focus of the interview
It is important to keep the interview in focus
People have taken time out of their busy days to support you, so remember to keep to the agreed time
If necessary gain permission from the participant to extend the interview
Consult with the interviewee
When writing up the responses, remember to provide the participant with a copy to confirm the accuracy
Remember to get the participant to complete the consent form for the use of data
If they have requested it keep them informed on how the data is used
Page last reviewed: 15 June 2021