Skip to main content
Search form
  • 00:00

    [MUSIC PLAYING][Research Methods tutorial][Depth Interviews and Life Stories--A Narrative Approach]

  • 00:18

    SMA MOIN: Hi, my name is Dr. Moin.I'm a Senior Lecturer in Marketing and AssociatedResearch and Scholarship at the Coventry University London.I have a prolonged experience of working in industrieswhere I have seen myself working in a number of industriesfor about 23 years.Then I moved into the academia.My research interest lies in the areas

  • 00:40

    SMA MOIN [continued]: of consumer trust in financial services,and branding, with particular focuson personality, relational and communityapproaches to branding.And last, but not the least, storytellingin the context of marketing with leadership,and teaching and learning.So in this video, in this short training video

  • 01:02

    SMA MOIN [continued]: I'm going to discuss a method that isused in qualitative research.And particularly, this is very popularin relational approaches to branding research.And that is called depth interviewscombined with life stories.So researchers who are interestedin qualitative research and looking for understanding

  • 01:25

    SMA MOIN [continued]: the relationship consumers have with their brand,and what is the meaning of this relationship,particularly in the context of branding research,might find it useful and beneficial.[Scientific & Philosophical Traditions]

  • 01:47

    SMA MOIN [continued]: So depth interview fits into the scientific traditionof phenomenological research.So it derives from scientific tradition of phenomonology,where researchers are more interested to understandthe inner meaning of the consumers.

  • 02:07

    SMA MOIN [continued]: So deep inner meaning, rather than the external meaning.So completely opposite to positivist traditionswhere the ontological position is objectivism,and epistemological position is positivism.This phenomenological tradition is something.

  • 02:32

    SMA MOIN [continued]: The ontological position is constructionism.And the epistemological position is interpretivism.So the question is, what do they mean?So yeah.That's a very relevant question.So to be more precise, or to put itinto the simple term, the positivist belief

  • 02:54

    SMA MOIN [continued]: that the reality or the truth is external.And it can be tasked, seen, felt, majored, studied.So they sort of believe in the single reality.Because they believe in single reality,it takes them more towards the quantitative approach

  • 03:16

    SMA MOIN [continued]: where close ended questions have developed, and sort of optionsare given.So they think that people will see the same thing.So sort of if there is an accident there,the positivists will think that anybodysee this accident will respond to the question similarly.But as opposed to this positivist tradition,

  • 03:39

    SMA MOIN [continued]: the phenomenological approach under which this depthinterview fits in, they focus on multiple realities,or they think that reality is not external.Rather it is inside the mind of the people.So it's multiple reality.Different people will construct reality.So it's not something external.Rather constructed.

  • 04:01

    SMA MOIN [continued]: Because it is constructed, the focusis on understanding this reality at a deeper level.So focus is more on a small sample,but quality data, rather than big sample.So for example, as I told you, that if there is an accident,so the phenomonologist will think that if you ask somebody

  • 04:25

    SMA MOIN [continued]: who has witnessed this accident, maybe somebodywill say this accident is because of high speed madeby the drivers.Maybe somebody else will say that, no, the road is narrow.So the government has a rule here.Somebody might say, why do we have to take a transport even?Why not we are walking?

  • 04:45

    SMA MOIN [continued]: That is good for health.I mean, different people might comefrom different perspectives.So the meaning is constructed.So now, if you see that the positivist,they are more like a scientist.So they want to see things, major things.

  • 05:06

    SMA MOIN [continued]: And they see things are external, reality external.But the phenomonologist, they are more like a detective.So they are trying to find out the secret,the inherent meaning.And they are patient about that.[Depth Interviews, Life Stories & Relevancein Branding Research]

  • 05:32

    SMA MOIN [continued]: Depth interview is an interview in depth.So it's sort of a prolonged interview.It's an interview, but it's a prolonged interview.And it is widely used by the marketing researchers,particularly those who are brand management researchers,particularly those who are focusing on understanding

  • 05:53

    SMA MOIN [continued]: the subtle aspect of relationships consumershave with their brands.And it is not actually understood easily.So you need the depth interview that is interviewfor a longer period of time.But what have been found by the researcher Susan Fournier,

  • 06:14

    SMA MOIN [continued]: she published an article in the Journal of Consumer Researchentitled "Consumer and Their BrandsDeveloping Relationship Theory in Consumer Research."So she put this depth interview along with the life stories.And that has become very popular and effectivein unveiling the internal meaning that

  • 06:37

    SMA MOIN [continued]: lies within consumer minds and hearts.And that has been very popular as a research approachin brand management known as the relational approach.So why the question of merging the life storywith depth interview?Well, there is a profound understanding

  • 06:59

    SMA MOIN [continued]: that people structure themselves in a narrative way.So they see themselves or they express themselvesin terms of a narrative or a story, not in terms of data.So that is the aspect.So in that case, the life story is a wonderful opportunity,

  • 07:20

    SMA MOIN [continued]: a wonderful gateway to accessing the heart of the consumersor the respondents, or the informants,which you like better.So that's why you put them at ease.You ask them to talk about their life story.And that unveils a lot of things, a lot of experienceswhich are mostly essential in understanding the brand,

  • 07:44

    SMA MOIN [continued]: consumer relationship, the experience felt.So that is significantly important there.So that is what is sort of a depth interview combinedwith life stories.[The Depth Interview Combined with Life Stories]

  • 08:08

    SMA MOIN [continued]: So if you want to have a successful depthinterview combined with life story,it can be an artistic way.So different people, obviously, will do it differently,which is why we call it art.And you can be as creative as you can.So a couple of things that I think

  • 08:29

    SMA MOIN [continued]: that could fall under the art of conducting this interviewis maybe, first, trying to relax the respondent.So that is very important.So you've got to relax them.They need to feel at ease.They should not have any fear that somethingis going to be told.And it can be used against them, and things like that.

  • 08:52

    SMA MOIN [continued]: So you need to make them understandthat it is absolutely for the purpose of research.And their names and other things will not be used.So they feel relaxed.Then you need to inspire the respondentwith the life stories.Because as I told you already, life stories

  • 09:15

    SMA MOIN [continued]: is very important to everybody.Because you are constructed by yourself within your stories.So you need to ask the respondentto tell their life stories, which is also drawnfrom a number of disciplines.

  • 09:36

    SMA MOIN [continued]: So one researcher, particularly in the fieldof marketing, psychology, and consumer behavior,one example I can tell is Woodside.So he said that, life story is an opportunity to seek clarity.So people try to seek clarity about themselves

  • 09:57

    SMA MOIN [continued]: and about their relationship with brandsthrough life stories.That's why the life stories need to be used and advised.And life stories also allow the respondent to talk for hours.Because when we start a story about yourself,you keep on talking about it.

  • 10:19

    SMA MOIN [continued]: And if you get a good listener, youwill see that people are very encouraged.So that is another art.So how artistically you use the life history techniques.So asking them about, OK, what happened at that point in time?And something like that.Then another aspect here, the reason it is importantis you have to understand that you are getting

  • 10:41

    SMA MOIN [continued]: the firsthand narrative, so descriptionof firsthand narrative.Here the validity is what the customer feels.So say, if a customer say that I didn't feel well, now,for a quantitative researcher, or maybe a positivist,they might try to see video footage,

  • 11:04

    SMA MOIN [continued]: or maybe CCTV to see what went wrong?Actually is there anything?That they feel bad.But in-depth interview, or, let's say,in the phenomenological tradition, customers,the firsthand experience is more important.That's valid.That he feel bad.So he feel bad.We don't have to justify with some documentsand other things.

  • 11:24

    SMA MOIN [continued]: Because that is inside, internal things.So that is the sort of aspect that weare more focused on, firsthand delivery of the informationand narrative.Depth interview could take several hours, as I told you.And mostly from between 12 to 15 hours,it is a longer period of time.

  • 11:45

    SMA MOIN [continued]: And it means that you might have to go backto the same respondent again and again.But now, there is a beauty of actually doing it, goingto the respondent again and again,rather than completing it at one go.Because it will put you in a different mindset.So the respondent will keep on thinking about his experience

  • 12:08

    SMA MOIN [continued]: in a previous time.And that will remind him about a lot of things.And also, when you collect some data,that data will allow you to actually reframeyour next question.Because it will give you some insight.So every time you go to the respondent,you are finding a different layer of information.

  • 12:29

    SMA MOIN [continued]: But this different layer of informationis actually giving you further clarityabout the inherent meaning.So that is another important thing,that you don't do it at one go.Rather, go to the respondent a number of times.And another aspect is that depth is preferable than breadth,

  • 12:51

    SMA MOIN [continued]: breadth of information.So if you are particularly focusing on some aspect,the depth of information, or the quality of informationis more important, rather than you geta wide variety of information.[Techniques for Using Depth Interviews & Life Stories]

  • 13:15

    SMA MOIN [continued]: There are some techniques that canbe used as sort of a science of conducting this interview.So sort of a checklist kind of thing.So first of all, you might start with biographical questions.So that will allow you to understand moreabout the respondents.Now, one thing you need to understand,

  • 13:37

    SMA MOIN [continued]: that you already know about the respondentbecause you have had an appointment.So you know about the respondent,because it's sort of a purposive sampling.So you know who you are going to interview.But still, the biographical question is important.So you don't just ask very direct or leading biographicalquestions, or sort of showing that you don't know anything

  • 13:59

    SMA MOIN [continued]: about them.That might occasionally put some barriers.So you might say, tell me something about your collegelife.So you are trying to understand actuallyhis friends and other things.Maybe you say, OK, so when you are a young boy, whatwas your relationship with your parents, or things like that.

  • 14:22

    SMA MOIN [continued]: So you are trying to understand the family interaction.Did your mother teach you or your father taught you.What other kind of things.But obviously, you need to capturesome biographical information.But be artistic with how you start with.Then there is another kind of question,which is known as grand-tour opening questions.

  • 14:43

    SMA MOIN [continued]: And grand-tour opening questions, particularlysetting the context.So you bring the respondent in a right frame of mind.Because I think that his mind willbe working like an antenna, looking for things,or a radar looking for various information.But you want him or her to look for a particular set

  • 15:08

    SMA MOIN [continued]: of information that fall within your research objective.So grand-tour question is setting the context and rightframe of mind.And not being very direct.Because often being direct might seem that youare coming very abruptly.So maybe if you are trying to understandthe consumption of sports goods or a sports brand,

  • 15:33

    SMA MOIN [continued]: you might start with what sports you are fascinated about.Or tell me different sports activitiesthat you would like to be involved with.So it's sort of creating a context.But there is a challenge that sometime some researchers,they cannot manage it.So it goes beyond.So you need to get them to come back.

  • 15:54

    SMA MOIN [continued]: And for that, sometimes you might have to use a prompt.And so you might use the last word of a sentence.So yeah.That is also very helpful.Then one thing is, don't disturb the process by taking the note.Because it will be recorded anyway.So sometimes if you take note, then

  • 16:15

    SMA MOIN [continued]: the respondent might think, well, he'snot actually interested.Or probably he is not understanding.So he might lose interest of having a conversation.It can come across like interviews.But it has to be sort of a feelingthat he is having a conversation,and it is enjoyable.So yeah, that is a small thing, but it makes a big difference.

  • 16:39

    SMA MOIN [continued]: OK.You have to convert the verbatim.This is a verbatim transcript so that you can analyze the data.[Data Analysis]So now, let's come to the data analysis.

  • 16:60

    SMA MOIN [continued]: Data analysis is a challenge, because weare talking about depth interview and life stories,obviously.And we are talking about, say, 12 to 15 hourswith one respondent.So there will be lot of data.And this data will be unstructured.So how you analyze the data, how you cluster them,

  • 17:23

    SMA MOIN [continued]: how you categorize them, this is really a big challenge.So you need to consider that.But what is important here is that the point to noteis that it gives you access to very rich information.So it can give you some kind of informationthat you may not be able to find out following

  • 17:45

    SMA MOIN [continued]: a positivistic approach.So the beauty of data analysis isthat there are a number of software thatcan give you the sort of thematic analysis,or the metaphors.But the beauty is that you don't follow a plan.Rather, you follow a loop.So it's not a plan, but a loop.

  • 18:07

    SMA MOIN [continued]: Which means plan is a starting point.And then you're finishing it.No.Rather you follow a loop, with which you analyze the data,make some sense, get some theme, or get some category.Then you go again.Then you go again.As you follow the loop, you see that every time you'recoming to the data, you are emerging

  • 18:27

    SMA MOIN [continued]: new kind of information.And that's very essential.And a researcher has to be smart enough or experienced enoughto decide that when he stops.But the fact of the matter is, the more you come to the data--it is sort of an auto correcting loop--the better insight you get.And NVivo is one of the software that normally most

  • 18:51

    SMA MOIN [continued]: of the researchers use - NVivo.But I think there might be a lot of other software nowadays.But whatever the software you see or use,at the end of the day, how you code them,or how you name them, or how you model the information.So a human touch is necessary.

  • 19:12

    SMA MOIN [continued]: [Advantages & Disadvantages of Depth Interviews & LifeStories]So let's talk about some of the advantages of depth interview.Because it's one to one in depth interview.So the advantage is that you have the opportunity

  • 19:35

    SMA MOIN [continued]: to form a good relationship with the respondent.It might mean that respondent is moreinterested to give you the informationthat you are looking for.So it is an opportunity to develop deeper relationships.In this method also, the respondent

  • 19:57

    SMA MOIN [continued]: is not facing any peer pressure, because whathappens in focus group?So when you do the focus group, at the timewe see that somebody has told somethingor that somebody has asked something.So we need to respond to that.But that peer pressure is not there.So that is another big advantage of that.Another thing is that you can also

  • 20:18

    SMA MOIN [continued]: notice the subtle changes in the toneor the gesture of the respondent,because you have got time.And that can add meaning to what you are looking for.So depth interview and life stories,they are not free from disadvantages.

  • 20:40

    SMA MOIN [continued]: A couple of disadvantages are that it's quite time consuming.It's quite time consuming, because we've mentioned12 to 15 hours with one person.And it could be very expensive as well.And you may not actually cover a good number of people.Because I mean, obviously in the depth interview,

  • 21:04

    SMA MOIN [continued]: the focus is not the number of people.So its focus is on the quality of data.But still, it's very time consuming.Another thing is that the interviewer, or the researchershould have some skills of conducting that.If the researcher doesn't have the right skill of conductingthis interview, then the advantagethat he or she is looking to have may not be there.

  • 21:29

    SMA MOIN [continued]: Because the skill of the researcher matters.And finally, you need to choose the participant carefully aswell.Because considering that there might be some bias or thingslike that.So there might be some bias factor.And so who you choose, or whether you needto give some incentive or not.

  • 21:51

    SMA MOIN [continued]: If you have to choose something like that.So you need to consider whether this kind of thing has got biasor not, because in that case, the data may not actuallybe true reflections of what we're looking for.[Conclusion]

  • 22:15

    SMA MOIN [continued]: OK.So in summary, the depth interviewfalls under the scientific tradition of phenomenology.So phenomenological research, where we arelooking for multiple reality.So we believe in the ontological belief of the researcher

  • 22:35

    SMA MOIN [continued]: is multiple reality, of the inner meaning.So we think that different peopleconstruct meaning by themself differently,which is different obviously.Because we are looking for inner meaning, we need to dive down.So we need to allow time.

  • 22:55

    SMA MOIN [continued]: So we conduct interviews for longer durations.But also, we add other techniques,which is the life story because life story isa wonderful gateway that will encouragepeople to talk for hours.And you will find some informationthat you are looking for, because people will talk.

  • 23:18

    SMA MOIN [continued]: And they love to talk about their life stories.And data analysis.We've got to think that the more we come back to data.So it's a loop approach, not the plan.So a better result we'll get.Because there will be a lot of unstructured data.And we need to be very clear to be analyzing them.

  • 23:39

    SMA MOIN [continued]: [Further Reading][MUSIC PLAYING]

Video Info

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Publication Year: 2020

Video Type:Video Case

Methods: Narrative research, In-depth interviews, Life history research, Marketing research

Keywords: brand management; branding; depth interviews; life story

Segment Info

Segment Num.: 1

Persons Discussed:

Events Discussed:



Dr. SMA Moin discusses a method of qualitative research that is very popular in relational approaches to branding research: depth interviews combined with life stories. This type of research helps clarify the relationships consumers have with brands.

Looks like you do not have access to this content.

Depth Interviews and Life Stories: A Narrative Approach

Dr. SMA Moin discusses a method of qualitative research that is very popular in relational approaches to branding research: depth interviews combined with life stories. This type of research helps clarify the relationships consumers have with brands.

Copy and paste the following HTML into your website