Process 5: Key Informant Interviews

Process 5: Key Informant Interviews

In this month’s blog, it’s time to get personal! If you have any questions or would like to share your progress, join our Facebook Group!

We started our community planning process by working with community members to select a long-range goal that they wanted to accomplish. We created a project Steering Committee to assist in that work and the following phases of community planning, including identification of conditions that the community felt were barriers to accomplishing the long-range goal. If you have just joined us on this journey, please read through our previous posts and follow along.

We now are going to do one more community-based planning exercise to ensure we have a well-defined statement of the condition:

Key informant interviews are qualitative, in-depth interviews with people who are knowledgeable about the scope and impact of the condition or barrier the community wants to address. The purpose of key informant interviews is to collect information from a selected group of people—including community leaders, professionals, community members (including potential project beneficiaries) and representatives from partnering organizations —who have working knowledge of and experience engaging with the condition. These key informants, with the perspectives and experience in dealing with our identified barrier, can provide insight on the definition of the condition. Key informant interviews can also identify a starting point to creating strategies that reduce or eliminate identified barriers.

The following are two common techniques used to conduct key informant interviews:

  • Telephone Interviews
  • Face-to-Face Interviews

You can structure key informant interviews:

  • To collect details about a pressing issue or barrier identified by the community from a limited number of individuals with insights to that barrier.
  • To understand the motivation and beliefs of community members regarding the barrier.
  • To discuss any sensitive topics that might be associated with the barrier and explore ways of describing the barrier in accurate but non-threatening, unoffensive terms.

Finally, key informant interviews are personal and often provide more candid descriptions of or in-depth information about details of the barrier that are uncomfortable to discuss in a public setting. Focus Group dynamics may prohibit members from candidly discussing sensitive topics or getting information you need in developing a clear and well-stated description of the barrier that keeps the community from moving forward to long-range goal realization. Key informant interviews can help you understand those sensitive elements of the barrier and to draft a condition statement.

**Please be aware that these conversations may lead to sensitive and triggering discussions and may result in distress for the interviewee. Before conducting key informant interviews, be prepared to offer information on internal and external hotlines or services that can help, should the situation arise.**


  • Take a look at the priority conditions identified by your focus group’s Nominal Group Process task. If you have not conducted your focus group or the nominal group process, refer to our previous post.
  • Schedule a time and location to meet with your identified key informants. They may have participated in your focus group, or they may be new community members that you will now need to reach out to and who are aware of your priority areas.
  • Over the next month, plan to conduct interviews to get to the heart of the matter. You should take hand-written notes, but you may also consider recording audio or video with the written consent of your informant. Ask questions:
    • Which of the priority conditions most closely affects you?
    • In what ways are you affected?
    • Why do you feel this way?
    • What would be useful to you in trying to overcome or improve upon this condition?
    • And so on…
  • Connect with us on Facebook to ask questions and share insight about your progress.
    • Join our Facebook Group and tell us if you've met with your focus group or are ready to start interviews!
    • Don't forget to like and subscribe to our Facebook Page as well to stay up to date on news from ANA.