5. Conduct interviews

Use interviews to collect expert opinions from activists and donors, and provide context to the survey data results.

5. Conduct interviews

Interviews produce in-depth information that you cannot easily obtain from surveys. While surveys focuses mainly on quantifiable data and closed questions, interviews allow for expert opinions from activists and donors, and open-ended questions which can provide context to survey data results.

In this section

General tips

1. Before conducting your interviews

Send the interviewees a concept note with your objectives for the interview and for your overall research, as well as a list of questions.

This allows them to prepare answers for more complicated questions and look up information that they may not have immediately on hand.

2. During the interviews

  • You can conduct interviews while your survey is running, in order to save time.
  • Try to keep your interviews as consistent as possible in order to facilitate systematic analysis of results. This means asking the same questions. Coding identical responses to each question will allow you to uncover hidden trends.
  • The interviews can also be used to flesh out some of the survey findings

Do not base your questions on assumptions about your interviewees’ knowledge.
Instead, first clarify what they know – this will reveal information as well.

  • DON’T: “Given the current funding trends in Switzerland, do you know of any opportunities for collaboration? This question assumes that the interviewee knows current funding trends and that their understanding of funding trends matches yours.
  • DO: First ask “What is your understanding of current funding trends in Switzerland?”, followed by “Do you know of any opportunities for collaboration?” This will reveal what their understanding is, giving you even more information than the first question.

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Specialized interviews

1. Donor interviews

Interviews with donors will allow you to build deeper relationships with them, which will be useful when you conduct post-research advocacy. They will also provide you with deeper insight into funders’ decision-making processes.

Suggested topics of focus for donor interviews:

  • What are their funding priorities? Why and how did they select those priorities? For example, why do they choose project-funding over core support or vice versa?
  • What are annual amounts allocated to the advancement of women’s human rights? This will strengthen overall reliability of data collected.
  • Have they noticed any funding trends, and what do they believe are the origins and politics behind these trends?
  • What is their theory of social change and how does that impact their relationships with women’s rights organizations?
View samples of donor interviews

2. Women’s rights organizations and activists interviews

Interviews with women’s rights organizations and activists will provide you with insight into their on-the-ground realities. Again, these interviews will allow you to build deeper relationships that can be incorporated into your advocacy, particularly to encourage collaboration between donors and activists.

Suggested topics of focus for women’s rights organizations and activist interviews:

  • Long-term funding priority trends noted by women’s organizations and their impact.
  • Successful examples of feminist and collaborative resource mobilization strategies that build strong and complementary movements.
  • “Making the case” for why it is important to support women’s organizations and organizing.
  • How different actors understand the social change process and their role in advancing/achieving gender equality and women’s rights.
View samples of women’s organizations and activists interviews

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Preliminary findings

Through the course of your WITM research, we recommend analyzing your preliminary findings. Presenting your preliminary findings opens up opportunities to conduct more interviews and get feedback on your research process and initial results. This feedback can be incorporated into your final research.

AWID conducts “WITM convenings” to share preliminary results of survey data and interviews. These gatherings allow participants (activists, women’s rights organizations, and donors) to debate and discuss the results, clarifying the context, creating more ownership amongst members of the movement, and providing more input for final research.

For example, the Resource Mobilization Hub for Indigenous Women’s Rights at the World Summit on Indigenous Philanthropy was used as a space to debut preliminary results.

See the presentation given at the RMH

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Previous step

4. Collect and analyze your data

Next step

6. Conduct desk research

Estimated time:

• 1.5 - 3 months

People needed:

• 1 or more research person(s)

Resources needed:

• List of donors and women’s rights organizations and activists to interview
• Prepared interview questions
• Concept Note (You can use the research framing you created in the “Frame your research” section)

Resources available:

AWID Sample Interview Questions: Donors
AWID Sample Interview Questions: Activists & Women’s Rights Organizations

Previous step

4. Collect and analyze your data

Next step

6. Conduct desk research

Ready to Go? Worksheet

Download the toolkit in PDF