Key Informant Interviews

Do you want to know what your stakeholders really think about your program, organization or message? Do you want to learn from other models or community partners about perceived strengths, areas for improvement or promising practices? Done right, key informant interviews provide 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 range of individuals to share input on a topic. 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. For example, they can help a community map a realistic path forward based on an understanding of the current situation. And they can boost 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. In some cases, a group atmosphere might inspire a person to speak up about a subject they are uncomfortable with. But it also might limit how much one speaks up if their viewpoint deviates from what is perceived as mainstream. Key informant interviews provide participants with a relaxed, judgment-free space to explain their perspectives. They have the time to 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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