Key Informant Interviews

Do you want to know what your stakeholders really think about your program, organization or message? Do you want to learn more from other models or community partners about perceived areas of strength, areas for improvement or promising practices within a given focus area? Done right, key informant interviews give you access to in-depth insider perspectives on a particular topic from a variety of stakeholders. And JVA’s evaluation experts have the experience and expertise to do things right, from ensuring the engagement of diverse, relevant voices, to creating a safe one-on-one environment where interviewees feel comfortable sharing candid insights.

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In-depth interviews with a variety of individuals

Key informant interviews are a qualitative evaluation tool that provides an opportunity for a diverse cross-sector range of individuals to share input on a topic, concept or proposal. Such interviews can help you better understand challenges or assets within a community, as well as individuals’ motivations or beliefs. They can also offer context for other types of data, such as outcomes important to guiding strategy and decision-making.

Solving problems, boosting buy-in

Like all community engagement, key informant interviews can lead to the leveraging of a broad range of knowledge to find informed solutions. They can be used to help a community to map a realistic path forward based on an understanding of the situation at hand—having boosted stakeholders’ buy-in along the way. They can also be used to test the effectiveness of an organization’s messaging—is your audience interpreting your communication the way you intend it to? And they can be useful tools for learning about other organizations’ and partners’ experiences so you can consider adopting their most successful methods, as well as avoiding the pitfalls they discovered.

Time and judgment-free space

In contrast with focus groups, key informant interviews give a platform to a single individual. Although a group atmosphere may in some cases inspire a person to speak up about a subject they are uncomfortable with, it might also limit the degree to which one is willing to speak about an issue, particularly if one’s viewpoint deviates from what is perceived as mainstream. Key informant interviews provide participants with the time and relaxed, judgment-free space to explain their perspectives and describe their experiences in depth. JVA respects interviewees’ confidentiality and takes steps to guard their identifying information.

Further, these interviews allow for deeper dives with partners or other experts that can share meaningful insights into how they may have addressed similar challenges previously, perspectives on external trends impacting the environment in which you operate, or recommendations for areas for focus.

Meaningful new information

JVA’s extensive experience means we know how to structure an interview to elicit meaningful new information about the target topic. Our probing questions encourage participants to thoughtfully consider their responses and offer hypotheses on underlying causes. We know how to establish rapport with participants to encourage honest feedback, using semi-structured interview techniques to create a fluid and dynamic conversation. And as in everything we do, JVA employs a culturally responsive approach to designing and conducting key informant interviews. This may include a prominent role for our Spanish-speaking and bicultural staff members, as well as tailoring questions to each particular audience.

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