10 Qualitative Research Interview Questions and Answers for UX Researchers

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If you're preparing for ux researcher interviews, see also our comprehensive interview questions and answers for the following ux researcher specializations:

1. Can you walk us through the research process you use when conducting qualitative research?

When conducting qualitative research, my process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Defining research goals: First, it's important to understand what we hope to learn from the research. For example, if we are conducting research on a new website design, we may want to understand what aspects of the current design are not working well for users and what improvements they would like to see.
  2. Recruiting participants: Once I have a clear understanding of the research goals, I will recruit participants that match the target audience for the product or service being researched. For example, if the website is for a new online grocery store, I would recruit participants who regularly purchase groceries online.
  3. Conducting research: During the research sessions, I typically start with open-ended interview questions that allow participants to share their thoughts and experiences in their own words. For example, "Tell me about a recent experience you had shopping for groceries online." I also use other data collection techniques such as surveys, card sorting and tree testing.
  4. Analyzing data: I review and analyze the data collected from the research sessions. This can involve reviewing recordings of the interviews, transcribing the conversations and looking for patterns and recurring themes.
  5. Reporting insights: Finally, I share the insights and findings from the research with stakeholders. For example, a research report might include insights such as "users found the checkout process confusing" and "participants expressed a strong desire for a grocery list feature."

During a recent research project for an e-commerce website, I followed this process and was able to identify several pain points for users during the checkout process. Based on this research, I recommended changes to the website's design that resulted in a 20% increase in completed orders.

2. How do you approach recruiting participants with specific characteristics or experiences for your research?

When it comes to recruiting participants with specific characteristics or experiences for my research, I follow a well-defined process that ensures I connect with the right individuals.

  1. Clearly define the participant criteria: Before anything else, I invest a significant amount of time in clearly defining the participant criteria. It's crucial to have a precise idea of the demographic, behavioral, and experiential characteristics I'm looking for to ensure I reach the relevant participants.
  2. Identify relevant online communities: Once I've defined the criteria, I search for relevant online communities where individuals who meet the requirements are likely to frequent. These could be social media groups, forums, or even subreddits on Reddit.
  3. Post a well-crafted recruitment message: After identifying the relevant online communities, I craft a recruitment message that clearly communicates the research's nature and what the participant can expect. I use language that resonates with the community's tone and guidelines to ensure that it is received positively.
  4. Screen participants: Once individuals respond to my outreach efforts, I conduct initial screening to ensure they fit the participant criteria I've defined. I ask them a series of questions to ensure they’re a good fit and willing to commit to the research process.
  5. Track and analyze results: Once I have secured participants, I track and analyze the relevant data to gain insights into their behavior and experiences. I carefully examine the data to ensure I'm making the most of the information I gather.

Using this process, I have been able to connect with participants for research studies with specific characteristics or experiences.

For example, for a recent study involving individuals who had been diagnosed with a specific medical condition, I leveraged online communities and support groups pertaining to that condition. I was able to secure the required number of participants, and the insights gathered played a vital role in informing the design of a new medical device that met the specific needs of individuals living with the condition.

3. What techniques do you use to build rapport with research participants and put them at ease during interviews?

Building rapport with research participants is essential to gather honest and valuable insights. To put participants at ease during interviews, I use a variety of techniques:

  1. Icebreaker questions: I usually start my interviews with a few light-hearted questions to get the conversation flowing. This helps participants feel comfortable and more willing to open up.

  2. Active listening: I actively listen to participants' responses and follow-up with thoughtful questions to show that I'm interested in what they have to say. This helps create a safe and warm environment for participants to share their experiences and opinions.

  3. Empathy: I put myself in the participant's shoes and show empathy towards their experiences. This approach helps participants feel understood and validated.

  4. Transparency: I'm transparent about the research process and objective of the interview. I explain the importance of their feedback and how it will be used to improve the product or service. This helps participants feel like they are part of the process and their opinions matter.

  5. Flexibility: I'm flexible with the interview structure and adjust questions based on the participant's responses. This helps create a conversational flow and makes participants feel like their opinions are valued.

Using these techniques, I was able to build rapport and put participants at ease during a recent research project for a travel booking app. I received detailed feedback from participants that helped the company improve their user experience. Specifically, we were able to identify and improve a confusing booking process, resulting in a 30% increase in completed bookings.

4. How do you take notes during research interviews? Can you explain your system for organizing and analyzing these notes?

During research interviews, I take notes both manually and digitally. I use a notebook to write down key points, observations, and quotes that stand out to me during the interview. Additionally, I use a software program like OneNote or Evernote to organize and store my notes digitally, making them easily accessible and shareable with my team.

Once I have completed the interviews, I go back and review my notes, identifying any patterns, themes, or insights that emerge from the data. I use a system of color coding and tagging to help me easily identify and organize my findings. For example, I might tag notes related to a particular behavior or opinion with a certain color and organize them into a separate category.

  1. Collaborative workflows: During a recent project for a financial services company, I used my note-taking and organizational methods to identify areas where the user experience could be improved in their online banking platform. By organizing my notes by category, I was able to work collaboratively with the design team to create a more seamless and user-friendly workflow, which resulted in a 25% increase in customer satisfaction rates.
  2. Customer preferences: In another project, I used a similar note-taking and organizational approach to identify customer preferences for a food delivery app. By color coding notes related to food preferences and delivery options, I was able to identify key patterns and insights that informed our design decisions. As a result, we were able to increase daily active users by 18% and average order values by 12%.

Overall, my note-taking and organizational system allows me to effectively capture and analyze important information during research interviews, leading to actionable insights and ultimately, improved user experiences.

5. Can you discuss a time when you encountered a challenging research participant or situation, and how you handled it?

During one of my UX research studies, I encountered a participant who was regularly interrupting and dominating the conversation with their own opinions and ideas. This behaviour was not allowing me to get the necessary insights from other participants. I knew that I had to address the situation while still maintaining a comfortable environment for the participant.

  1. First, I acknowledged the participant's contribution and thanked them for sharing their thoughts. This helped to show that I valued their opinion and input.
  2. Next, I politely asked the participant to allow the others to participate fully and share their thoughts as well. This helped to redirect their focus to the other participants and let them know that their input was also important.
  3. To ensure that I still obtained the necessary data, I created an opportunity for the participant to share their thoughts independently through a one-on-one interview. This allowed them to provide their input without disrupting the group discussion and helped me obtain in-depth information from them.

As a result of these actions, I was able to obtain the necessary data from all participants in the study, including the challenging participant. When analyzing the data, I was able to identify patterns and insights that helped to improve the design of the project. This incident taught me the importance of being assertive and flexible, while creating an environment where all participants feel comfortable sharing their input.

6. In what ways do you ensure that research findings accurately reflect the experiences and perspectives of participants?

As a UX researcher, I understand the value of obtaining accurate and representative research findings. To ensure that the research findings accurately reflect the experiences and perspectives of participants, I employ the following methods:

  1. Recruiting a diverse group of participants:

    • I work hard to recruit participants from a diverse range of backgrounds, genders, ages, races, and ethnicities.
    • This ensures that the research findings include a wide range of perspectives and insights.
  2. Using open-ended questions:

    • I avoid leading questions and instead focus on asking open-ended questions that allow participants to share their honest experiences and opinions.
    • For example, instead of asking "Do you like this website?" I might ask "What are your thoughts on the website design?"
  3. Actively listening:

    • During interviews, I actively listen to participants and ask follow-up questions to help clarify their responses.
    • This ensures that I fully understand the participant's perspective and can accurately represent their experience in the findings.
  4. Triangulating data:

    • I use multiple sources of data to ensure that the findings accurately represent the experiences and perspectives of participants.
    • This might include analyzing interview data, survey responses, and behavioral data.
    • Triangulating data helps to ensure that the findings are reliable and accurate.

Implementing these methods has consistently resulted in high-quality research findings that accurately represent the experiences and perspectives of participants. For example, in a recent study I conducted on user experience with a new mobile app, 90% of participants reported feeling satisfied with the app's design and functionality. This data was further supported by positive comments and feedback from participants during interviews.

7. How do you approach synthesizing qualitative research findings and identifying key insights?

When approaching synthesizing qualitative research findings, I first organize my data by creating affinity diagrams or mind maps, grouping similar observations or themes. This allows me to see patterns and connections between the data points.

Next, I use the "Five Whys" technique to identify the root cause of any issues or pain points found in the research. This involves repeatedly asking "why" until the true underlying problem is identified.

Once I have identified key themes and root causes, I create personas or user journeys to represent different user types and their needs. This helps me to prioritize insights and identify which ones are most important to address.

In a recent project, I conducted user interviews and observations for a new product feature. After synthesizing the findings, I identified a common pain point among users related to the onboarding process. By using the Five Whys technique, I discovered the root cause of the issue was a lack of clarity in the product messaging. To address this, I recommended changing the messaging to be more clear and concise. After implementing this change, we saw a 20% increase in user engagement with the new feature.

8. Can you describe a time when your research uncovered unexpected insights or outcomes?

During a recent research project, we were tasked with understanding the user behavior when purchasing groceries online. Our initial hypothesis was that users would purchase groceries online for convenience and time-saving purposes. However, our research uncovered something unexpected - users were not only shopping for groceries online for the typical reasons but also because of the wider range of options available online compared to in-store.

Our study included a survey of 500 users and a series of in-depth interviews. The results showed that 70% of the survey respondents said they purchase groceries online because of convenience while 30% said they buy groceries online for the wider range of options available. This was not something we had considered before and the data showed a significant ratio of users to be interested in this benefit.

To further understand this unexpected behavior, we conducted follow-up quantitative research. Our findings showed that users who purchase groceries online for the wider range of options were willing to spend an average of 25% more than users who purchase groceries online only for convenience. This insight was invaluable and enabled us to advise our client to consider offering a wider range of products online to increase the average order value of their e-commerce grocery platform.

9. What role do stakeholders and team members play in your research process, and how do you keep them informed and engaged throughout the process?

Stakeholders and team members play a crucial role in my research process. As a UX researcher, I understand the importance of involving them in the research process from beginning to end.

  1. I start by identifying stakeholders and team members who are impacted by the research and involve them in the planning stage. This helps me to understand their needs and expectations for the research.
  2. During the research process, I conduct regular check-ins with stakeholders and team members to keep them informed on progress and address any concerns they may have.
  3. I also share preliminary findings with them to ensure that the research is heading in the right direction and to get their insights and feedback. This collaborative approach helps to ensure that the research is aligned with business needs and objectives.
  4. To keep stakeholders and team members engaged throughout the research process, I use a variety of communication channels such as email, Slack, or project management tools. For example, for a recent research project, I created a Trello board where everyone involved could see the research plan, add comments or questions, and stay up-to-date on progress.
  5. Finally, once the research is complete, I share the findings and insights in a comprehensive report, presentation or workshop to ensure that everyone impacted by the research is on the same page.

Overall, including stakeholders and team members in the research process ensures that the research is aligned with business objectives and that the outcomes are relevant and actionable. The results speak for themselves. In my previous project, engaging stakeholders and team members throughout the research process resulted in a 25% increase in user engagement and a 15% increase in conversion rates.

10. How do you approach measuring the impact and success of a research project?

Measuring the impact and success of a research project is essential in providing valuable insights to stakeholders. To start, I would first define clear objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) to track throughout the project. These KPIs can include metrics such as user satisfaction, task completion rates, and behavior changes.

  1. One specific example of a successful research project I’ve led was for a mobile app company. We conducted usability testing and found several pain points for users during the onboarding process. After implementing our recommended changes, the task completion rate increased by 25% and user satisfaction ratings went up by 15%. This showed a significant impact on the success of the users’ experience with the app.
  2. Another example was a project for a healthcare organization. Through interviews and surveys, we discovered that patients were struggling with understanding their health insurance policies. Our team recommended creating a simplified guide for patients, and after implementation, we saw a 30% decrease in customer service calls and an increase in positive feedback from patients.

In addition to quantitative data, I also believe in gathering qualitative feedback from stakeholders such as product managers, designers, and developers. This can include their personal opinions on the research findings and the usability of the product or feature, and can give insight into the impact of the research project on the overall team’s objectives.

Overall, I approach measuring the impact and success of a research project by setting clear KPIs, tracking both quantitative and qualitative data, and getting feedback from stakeholders. This approach has resulted in positive outcomes and valuable insights for my past research projects.


As a UX researcher, qualitative research interview questions can help understand user perceptions, preferences, and behaviors towards a product. While creating your user research interview questions, be sure to craft open-ended questions that allow the user to express their thoughts and emotions in their own words. After conducting your qualitative research, the next steps are to write a great cover letter and prepare an impressive CV. Our guides on writing a cover letter and preparing a CV can be a great starting point for the job application process. Finally, if you're looking for a new job opportunity, check out our remote UX Research job board. Our job board is a great resource to find your next remote UX researcher position.

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