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allow you to probe for additional infor- mation easily.

  • Respondents might not want to be inter- viewed on the spot. Although setting up prearranged appointments is time con- suming and more expensive, ultimately it may save time if respondents won’t cooperate in a central location.

Developing the Questionnaire

Unlike focus groups or individual interviews, the questionnaire used in central location intercept interviews is highly structured and contains primarily multiple-choice or closed- ended questions to permit quick responses. Open-ended questions, which allow free-

flowing answers, should be kept to a mini- mum, because they take too much time for the respondent to answer and for the interviewer to record. Questions that assess the audience’s comprehension and perceptions of the pretest materials form the core of the questionnaire. The interview may also include a few ques- tions tailored to the specific item(s) being pretested (e.g., “Do you prefer this picture or this one?”). As with any research instrument, the questionnaire should be pilot tested before it’s used in the field. (See Appendix 3.6 for a Sample Intercept Interview Questionnaire.)

Setting Up Interviews

A number of market research companies throughout the country conduct central location intercept interviews in shopping malls. You can also conduct these interviews in clinic waiting rooms, religious institutions,

Chapter 3: Gaining and Using Target Audience Insights

Table 3.3: Estimated Costs for Central Location Intercept Interviews Conducted With 100 Participants From the General Population


Develop questionnaire

Costs $750–$3,500

Print questionnaire Schedule facility and phones


Screen and conduct interviews


Provide respondent incentives


Code, enter data, and tabulate


Analyze research findings and write report




Social Security offices, schools, work sites, train stations, and other locations frequented by audience members. You must obtain permission from the site well before you want to set up interviewing stations.

If you’re using a market research company to conduct the interviews, provide the company with the screening criteria and the pretest materials in appropriate formats and quanti- ties. Some companies have offices in shopping malls, and some offices have one-way mirrors that allow you to watch the interviews.

University and college departments of market- ing, communication, or health education might be able to provide interviewer training,

trained student interviewers, or both. Pretesting is an excellent real-world project for a faculty member to adopt as a class project or for a

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