Qualitative Interviews vs. Quantitative Interviews: Which type for Deeper JTBD insights?

15 min read

Qualitative and quantitative interviews play a vital role in research and market analysis, providing invaluable insights into the intricate dynamics of Jobs To Be Done (JTBD). Digital Leadership, a renowned digital strategy and execution firm, firmly believes in the transformative potential of emerging technologies and innovative business models to enhance customer service. This comprehensive article delves into the realms of qualitative and quantitative interviews, shedding light on their respective roles in unearthing profound JTBD insights job mapping, and solution design. By comprehending the power and significance of qualitative interviews in research, we can unlock invaluable JTBD insights that drive customer satisfaction, inform job mapping, and facilitate solution design, ultimately fostering heightened engagement.

Qualitative Interviews

Qualitative interviews, including qualitative research interviews, research interviews, qualitative research method interviewing, qualitative research techniques, and focus groups, are valuable for understanding the subjective experiences, perceptions, and behaviours of individuals. They gather detailed insights into experiences, perspectives, and behaviours, uncovering rich and diverse perspectives often overlooked by quantitative methods.

Qualitative interviews Definition

Qualitative interviews, as a form of customer research, are valuable for understanding the subjective experiences, perceptions, and behaviours of individuals. They provide rich and nuanced data that goes beyond surface-level understanding, enabling effective data interpretation. These interviews help researchers construct a deeper understanding of customers and their needs, informing business strategies and enhancing customer satisfaction.

By exploring the “why” behind customer actions, qualitative interviews uncover underlying motivations and contextual factors that influence their decision-making. They provide insights into not only the functional value of products or services but also the emotional and psychological aspects that drive customer behaviour. Overall, qualitative interviews contribute to informed decision-making by offering comprehensive insights into customers’ perspectives and enhancing the interpretation of collected data.

Types of Qualitative Interviews

To effectively conduct qualitative interviews, researchers must be aware of various interview types and their respective applications.

  1. Semi-Structured Interviews

Semi-structured interviews combine predefined questions with flexibility for probing and exploring emerging themes. They offer a balance between standardized data collection and the opportunity for participants to elaborate on their experiences and perspectives.

  1. Unstructured Interviews

Unstructured interviews provide participants with the freedom to express themselves without predefined questions. This approach allows for a more open-ended exploration of their experiences, opinions, and emotions, enabling deeper insights into their JTBD.

  1. In-Depth Interviews

In-depth interviews focus on exploring a specific topic or phenomenon in great detail. Researchers engage in in-depth conversations with participants, aiming to uncover underlying motivations, beliefs, and experiences related to the JTBD. These interviews provide comprehensive insights into individual perspectives.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Qualitative Interview

Gaining Deeper Insights into Customer BehaviorLimited Generalizability of Findings
– Qualitative interviews allow researchers to delve deep into customer behaviour, uncovering underlying motivations, values, and emotions.– Findings from qualitative interviews may not be statistically representative of the broader population due to small sample sizes and inherent subjectivity.
– Provides a comprehensive understanding of customer behaviour and the factors that shape their decision-making processes. 
Exploring Unconscious Motivations and Decision-MakingPotential for Bias and Subjectivity
– Qualitative interviews provide an opportunity to uncover hidden influences, biases, and desires that drive customer choices.– Participants’ self-reported data in qualitative interviews may be influenced by personal biases, social desirability, or memory recall issues.
– Enables a deeper exploration of unconscious motivations and decision-making processes. 
Flexibility in Probing and Exploring Unexpected ThemesTime and Resource Intensive
– Qualitative interviews offer the flexibility to adapt questioning techniques and explore unexpected themes that arise during the conversation.– Conducting qualitative interviews requires a significant investment of time and resources.
– Allows for the discovery of new perspectives and unanticipated insights.– Time-consuming tasks such as participant recruitment, interviews, data transcription, and analysis contribute to resource requirements.
Establishing Rapport and Building Trust with ParticipantsChallenges in Analyzing Qualitative Data
– Qualitative interviews create a safe space for participants to share openly, leading to more authentic and candid responses.– Analyzing qualitative data can be complex and time-consuming.
– Building rapport and trust with participants enhances the quality of data collected.– Researchers need to employ rigorous and systematic methods to analyze qualitative data, identify patterns, and draw meaningful conclusions.
Table of Comparison between Advantages and Disadvantages of Qualitative Interviews

Importance of understanding the customer criteria using qualitative research in gathering insights for JTBD

In the realm of Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) research, qualitative research plays a pivotal role in uncovering subjective perspectives and gaining an in-depth understanding of customer criteria. The use of interviews, coupled with effective interview techniques, is particularly valuable in capturing the nuanced insights necessary to understand customers’ JTBD and foster customer centricity.

Here are three main types of criteria to look out for:

  • Functional criteria: Needing more or less of something, e.g., faster, simpler, cheaper etc.
  • Emotional criteria: Fulfilling needs like reduced stress, increased safety, comfort, personal
    mastery or accomplishment
  • Social criteria: Increased trust, openness, willingness to participate or connection

For comprehensive guidance on understanding customer criteria and qualitative research for JTBD, we recommend our latest book, How to Create Innovation.” This comprehensive resource delves into Jobs to be done and customer mindsets, organizational structures, and strategies that empower you to innovate efficiently achieving maximum success by optimizing resource utilization.

The Only Book On Innovation You’ll Ever Need

+FREE access to 50+ complimentary download packages covering the details with plenty of helpful background information

Let’s explore the key reasons why qualitative research and effective interview techniques are essential in this context:

  1. Uncovering Subjective Perspectives:
    JTBD research aims to understand customers’ underlying motivations, needs, and desired outcomes. Qualitative research, such as interviews, allows researchers to delve into the subjective perspectives of customers. By engaging in open-ended conversations, researchers can explore the reasons behind customers’ choices, experiences, and decision-making processes. This qualitative approach provides valuable insights into the emotional and psychological dimensions of customers’ JTBD.
  2. Probing for In-Depth Understanding:
    Effective interview techniques enable researchers to probe and explore customers’ experiences and perspectives in greater detail. Through probing, researchers can uncover the underlying drivers behind customers’ JTBD, gaining a deeper understanding of their desired outcomes, pain points, and unmet needs. By asking follow-up questions and encouraging customers to elaborate on their experiences, researchers can extract richer and more comprehensive insights.
  3. Contextual Understanding:
    Qualitative research allows researchers to capture the contextual information that shapes customers’ JTBD. By conducting interviews, researchers can explore the situational, social, and environmental factors that influence customers’ choices and behaviors. Understanding the context in which customers’ JTBD occur is crucial for developing effective strategies and solutions that address their unique circumstances.
  4. Uncovering Unconscious Needs:
    Effective interview techniques can help uncover customers’ unconscious or latent needs. Through open dialogue and probing, researchers can go beyond customers’ stated preferences and tap into their underlying desires and aspirations. This deeper exploration allows for the discovery of unmet needs that customers may not be fully aware of or unable to articulate explicitly. Such insights are invaluable for identifying innovative solutions and creating products or services that truly resonate with customers, leading to value creation.
  5. Iterative Learning and Improvement:
    Qualitative research, including interviews, allows for iterative learning and improvement. By conducting interviews with customers at different stages of the JTBD journey, researchers can gather feedback and refine their understanding. This iterative approach helps researchers uncover evolving patterns and emerging themes, leading to continuous learning and the ability to adapt strategies and solutions accordingly.

Understanding customer criteria is a crucial aspect of any business strategy aimed at delivering exceptional products and services. The Unite Jobs-to-be-Done template for defining customer criteria holds immense importance in the realm of quantitative interviews within the Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) framework. It allows us to uncover valuable insights into customer motivations and preferences, enabling us to optimize our product development, marketing strategies, and overall customer experience. you can download it now.

Jobs to be Done Template for defining Customer Criteria
The Unite Jobs To Be Done Template For Defining Customer Criteria
Source: Strategyn / Jobs-to-be-Done.com

Steps to Conduct a Qualitative Interview

To conduct effective qualitative interviews, researchers must follow a systematic approach that ensures reliable and meaningful data collection.

  1. Developing Interview Questions

Crafting well-designed interview questions is crucial for obtaining the desired insights. Researchers should carefully consider the JTBD, research objectives, and the specific information they seek to gather. Open-ended questions that encourage participants to share detailed accounts and personal experiences are particularly effective.

  1. Selecting Participants and Sample Size

Selecting participants who possess relevant experiences and perspectives is essential to ensure the interview findings are representative and insightful. Researchers must consider demographic factors, Jobs to be done (JTBD) relevance, and diversity within the sample. The sample size should be determined based on data saturation, which occurs when additional interviews do not yield new insights.

  1. Interview Techniques and Approaches

Researchers employ various techniques and approaches during qualitative interviews to create a comfortable and engaging environment for participants. Active listening, effective probing, and empathy contribute to building rapport and trust, facilitating open and honest responses. Researchers should adopt a flexible interview style that adapts to participants’ preferences and communication styles.

Quantitative Interview

Quantitative interviews are a research method that utilizes structured questioning techniques to collect numerical data from participants. Unlike qualitative research which focuses on subjective understanding, quantitative interviews aim to measure specific variables, attitudes, opinions, or behaviours within a given population.

Quantitative interviews definition

Quantitative interviews refer to a research method that utilizes structured questioning techniques to collect numerical data from participants. In quantitative interviews, researchers ask standardized questions with predetermined response options, aiming to measure specific variables, attitudes, opinions, or behaviours within a given population. The data collected from quantitative interviews is typically analyzed using statistical techniques to identify patterns, relationships, and trends. Unlike qualitative interviews which emphasize subjective understanding and in-depth exploration, quantitative interviews focus on gathering data that can be quantified and analyzed statistically.

Quantitative Interviews Types

Quantitative interviews encompass various types that researchers can utilize depending on their research objectives and the nature of the data they seek to collect. Some common types of quantitative interviews include:

  1. Structured Interviews:
    Structured interviews involve pre-determined questions with fixed response options. Researchers follow a standardized protocol, asking the same set of questions to all participants. This method ensures consistency and comparability of data across respondents.
  2. Semi-Structured Interviews:
    Semi-structured interviews combine structured and open-ended questions. Researchers have a set of predetermined questions but also have the flexibility to probe further or ask follow-up questions based on participants’ responses. This approach allows for some level of exploration while maintaining a systematic framework.
  3. Phone or Online Surveys:
    Phone or online surveys involve conducting interviews remotely via telephone or online platforms. Researchers administer questionnaires to participants and collect their responses electronically. This method offers convenience and accessibility, enabling researchers to reach a large number of participants efficiently.
  4. Panel Interviews:
    Panel interviews involve conducting multiple interviews with the same group of participants over time. This longitudinal approach allows researchers to collect data at different points, observe changes, and track trends within the panel. It is particularly useful for studying phenomena that evolve over time.

Quantitative Interviews Advantages and Disadvantages

StandardizationLimited Depth
– Consistency and uniformity in questionnaires and response options.– Restricted space for participants to express perspectives and elaborate on responses.
Statistical AnalysisLack of Contextual Understanding
– Rigorous statistical analysis to identify patterns, correlations, and associations.– Neglecting contextual factors that shape participants’ responses.
GeneralizabilityPotential for Superficial Responses
– Findings can be generalized to a larger population with a large sample size.– Participants may provide socially desirable or superficial responses.
EfficiencyInability to Capture Unforeseen Variables
– Efficient administration to a large number of participants.– Missing out on unforeseen variables or emerging themes.
ObjectivityLimited Flexibility
– Minimizing researcher bias with structured questions.– Less flexibility in adapting the questioning process or exploring unexpected avenues.
Table of Comparison between Advantages and Disadvantages of Quantitative Interviews

Conducting Effective Quantitative Interviews

Conducting effective quantitative interviews requires attention to various factors to ensure the reliability and validity of the data collected. Some key considerations include:

  1. Designing a Structured Questionnaire:
    Developing a clear and well-structured questionnaire with appropriate question types, response options, and skip patterns is crucial. The questionnaire should be designed to elicit accurate and consistent responses from participants.
  2. Sampling Techniques:
    Selecting an appropriate sample is essential for the generalizability of quantitative interview findings. Researchers should employ random or representative sampling techniques to ensure that the selected participants represent the target population of interest.
  3. Standardizing Interview Administration:
    Maintaining consistency in interview administration is vital to minimize interviewer bias and ensure data integrity. Interviewers should receive proper training to follow standardized protocols, clarify any participant questions, and avoid introducing unintended influences.
  4. Data Management and Analysis:
    Collecting quantitative interview data requires proper data management and analysis. Researchers should ensure accurate data entry, validation, and cleaning processes. Statistical analysis techniques can then be employed to derive meaningful insights from the data.
  5. Ethical Considerations:
    Researchers must adhere to ethical guidelines when conducting quantitative interviews. Informed consent should be obtained from participants, and their privacy and confidentiality should be respected throughout the research process.

Qualitative Interviews Vs Quantitative Interviews for Jobs To Be Done Insights

Understanding customer needs and motivations is essential for any business seeking to create products and services that truly resonate with their target audience. Both qualitative and quantitative interviews play a pivotal role in uncovering the Job Statement in JTBD research. The Unite Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) Job Statement model, holds immense importance in both qualitative and quantitative interviews within the context of JTBD research. This model serves as a powerful tool for understanding customer needs, motivations, and desired outcomes when trying to accomplish specific jobs in their lives. you can now download it.

Jobs to be Done Customer's Job Statement
The Unite Jobs To Be Done Customer’s Job Statement
Source: Helge Tenne

When conducting research to understand customer needs and preferences, two primary interview approaches come into play: Quantitative Interviews and Qualitative Interviews. Each method brings unique strengths and serves distinct purposes in the pursuit of gathering valuable insights. The table below provides a concise comparison between the two interview types:

Quantitative InterviewsQualitative Interviews
Structured and employed closed-ended questionsUtilize open-ended questions
Predetermined response optionsAllow participants to provide detailed and descriptive responses
Measure and quantify variables, behaviours, or opinionsExplore and understand subjective experiences and behaviours
Deductive in nature, testing hypotheses and drawing conclusionsInductive approach, seeking to generate new insights
Numerical data for statistical analysisTextual or descriptive data requiring thematic analysis
Large sample sizes for high generalizabilitySmaller sample sizes for rich contextual information
Focus on patterns and trendsEmbrace subjectivity and individual perspectives
Limited depth and contextual understandingCapture rich contextual information
Table of comparison between Qualitative Interviews and Qualitative Interviews for Jobs To Be Done insights


Both qualitative and quantitative interviews have distinct advantages in uncovering deeper insights into Jobs-To-Be-Done (JTBD). In JTBD research, qualitative interviews are especially important for capturing rich contextual information, exploring customers’ emotions and motivations, and uncovering hidden needs, they provide a comprehensive understanding of individual perspectives and contribute to informed decision-making. While Quantitative interviews offer the advantage of large sample sizes, statistical analysis, and generalizability, they provide a broader understanding of customer preferences, behaviours, and market trends.

Integrating qualitative and quantitative research methods is crucial for a holistic JTBD analysis. By combining these approaches, organizations can triangulate findings, validate qualitative insights, and make data-driven decisions. The importance of each type depends on the research objectives and the depth of insights required. It is essential to recognize the strengths of both approaches and employ them in a balanced manner to gain a comprehensive understanding of underserved customer needs and behaviors in the JTBD context.

Related Posts

How To Use the Jobs to Be Done Framework in Product Management

Employing Jobs to be Done (JTBD) is pivotal in product management. It's1

View Full article

Jobs to be done in Marketing Successful Implementation

The Jobs to be Done (JTBD)  with an effective digital transformation strategy and innovation strategy1

View Full article

Implementing Jobs to be Done (JTBD) in UX Design Guide

The Jobs to be Done (JTBD) coupled with an effective digital transformation strategy and innovation1

View Full article