Interviews are particularly useful for discovering the story behind a respondent's experiences and to pursue in-depth information around a topic. Before you start to design your interview questions and process, clearly identify the purpose of each interview. This helps you keep a clear focus on the intent of each question.
Preparing the Sequence of Questions
Get the respondents involved in the interview as soon as possible.
Before asking about controversial matters (such as feelings and opinions), first ask about some facts. With this approach, respondents can more easily engage in the interview before warming up to more personal matters.
Intersperse fact-based questions throughout the interview to avoid a long sequence of fact-based questions, which tends to leave respondents disengaged.
Ask questions about the present before asking questions about the past or future. It's usually easier for respondents to talk about the present and then work into the past or future.
The final questions might be formulated to allow respondents to provide any other information they wish to add and their impressions of the interview.
Wording Your Questions
Wording should be open ended. Respondents should be able to choose their own terms when answering questions.
Questions should be as neutral as possible. Avoid wording that might influence answers—for example, evocative wording.
Questions should be asked one at a time.
Be careful about asking "Why?" questions, because these imply a cause-effect relationship that might not truly exist. Such questions might also cause respondents to feel defensive—for example, that they have to justify their response—which might inhibit their responses to this and future questions.