Successful Qualitative Health Research: A Practical Introduction

By Emily C. Hansen | Go to book overview

five
INTERVIEWING

Interviews collect information about the ways that people understand 'the events and experiences of their lives' (Grbich 1999:85). They are a flexible way of collecting qualitative data suited to a wide variety of projects and research methodologies. For example, interviews have been used to explore a range of health-related issues, including the preferences of terminal cancer patients regarding their place of death (Thomas et al. 2004), young women's views on the relationship between cigarette smoking and weight control (Nichter et al. 2004), male narratives of pregnancy loss (McCreigh 2004), and how people manage living with a chronic illness (Charmaz 1990 and 1991).

Unlike observation and participant observation, interviews produce 'second-order data' because interviews involve discussion of events or experiences that have already occurred (Grbich 1999:86). Interviews can be used as the only method of data collection in a project or in combination with other methods.

There are at least four distinct styles of interviewing. These are structured interviews, semi-structured interviews, unstructured in-depth interviews and short informal interviews. Interviews can be conducted person-to-person and using telephones. Recent technological advances have made it possible to conduct interviews on-line, using email and via video-link. They can also be conducted between two people (an interviewer and an interviewee) or in a group (most commonly one interviewer and two or more interviewees). This chapter focuses exclusively on person-to-person interviews conducted with no more than three people because this is the type of interviewing most routinely used in healthrelated qualitative research.

The chapter begins with a short discussion about the history of inter-

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Successful Qualitative Health Research: A Practical Introduction
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Successful Qualitative Health Research - A Practical Introduction iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xii
  • One - Qualitative Research: an Introduction 1
  • Two - Planning Your Research 20
  • Three - Research Design and Rigour 46
  • Four - Observation and Participant Observation 76
  • Five - Interviewing 94
  • Six - Focus Groups 121
  • Seven - Analysing Qualitative Data 137
  • Eight - Writing Qualitative Research 161
  • Glossary 179
  • References 183
  • Index 205
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