General vs. Specific Questions

Sometimes, general questions can be good. But most of the time, general questions lead to general answers. Your goal during a focus group or in-depth interview (IDI) is to get your respondents to be more specific or to get them to draw on personal experiences and tell stories about their lives, instead of giving vague explanations that rely on generalizations. Practice transforming the following general questions into more specific questions that get people to speak about their personal experiences.

  • Who do you typically turn to for relationship advice?
  • How do you define convenience when it comes to shopping at a retailer?
  • Have you ever tried to quit smoking?
  • Which factors cause you to switch from one retailer to another?
  • When do you tend to snack the most?
  • What kinds of home improvement projects do you typically do around the house?
  • Where do you usually look for promotional offers?
  • How do you typically plan your vacation trips?
  • Do you enjoy gambling?
  • Are you a spender or a saver?