How Many Interviews Are Enough for a Research?

How Many Interviews Are Enough for a Research?

As in many fields, research projects may also need various interviews. A question arises: How many interviews are enough to have successful research? We will discuss it in this article but firstly, let’s see what kind of research we will be focusing on. Research is usually divided into two main categories: Quantitative research, which involves collecting and analyzing numerical data for statistical analysis and qualitative research.

Let’s focus on qualitative research for the sake of our article. Unlike quantitative research, it does not rely on numbers. It collects and analyzes non-numerical data such as text, video, or audio to understand different concepts, experiences, or opinions. The following questions are some examples of qualitative research:

  • How does depression affect people?
  • What is the role of social media in shaping the views of teenagers?
  • How can social issues be solved by the cooperation of the public and private sectors?
  • What kind of problems do ethnic minorities face in various parts of life?

It is worth mentioning that it is unnecessary to have a fixed number of interviews from the very beginning. As you start with your research with the first interview, you can decide if you need more interviews or not. Several factors can influence the number of interviews a researcher may conduct on one of those or similar examples mentioned above. Let’s look at some of them:

  • It depends on your research question and research goals and whether the research question is answered to a degree of satisfaction, the fulfillment of the objectives
  • The number of people that you are going to interview - more people means more interviews.
  • The level of experience and knowledge of participants should be taken into account
  • The number of researchers in the research team – the interview subjects can be divided among the team members in order to fasten the process
  • Resources you have also play a significant role. Some researchers may need to interview participants who live in remote places. Researchers may also need to travel to multiple destinations to conduct an interview.

Taking everything into consideration, the answer to the number of interviews is “it depends.” Based on the research, ten interviews can be more than enough for one researcher, while a hundred can be too little for another. If you see repeated responses, it means you cover most of the topic, and there is no new trend of answers. It is called “theoretical saturation.” As a rule of thumb, to avoid bias with a single interview, a minimum of 3-6 interviews need to be conducted to draw any conclusion. The goal is not in the number of interviews but the quality of them.