Even a short interview takes place in the context of a relationship

You need to make people feel comfortable, engaged, and ready to trust you. As an interviewer or moderator you need to do different things at each stage.

For Depth interviews the stages a participant goes through will include:

  • Nervous or unsure at the start – need a sense of inclusion
  • Possibly a challenge to the interviewer to feel in control
  • Open-ness and co-operation
  • Closure

Free Download: Building the research relationship in a depth interview 


For focus groups there is a similar model based on the work of Bruce Tuckman.

The moderator needs to help the individuals Form into a group, to manage any differences (Storming) and to set implicit and explicit Norms for behaviour.  If this works, the next stage is Performing, where the group works freely on their set objectives. The final stage is letting go of the group   (Mourning)

Free Download: Managing research relationships in focus groups