Research Methods (1) Interviews

15. Post-interview practice

Sometimes the researcher and the participant may meet only once, and for the purpose of conducting the interview.

For other kinds of research projects – such as a longitudinal study – the researcher and participants may meet several times over the course of the research. In participatory or collaborative projects that include the researcher spending a significant amount of time with the community or social group involved in the study the researcher may have several interactions with participants external to the interview setting.

Examples of things that need to be considered as part of a post-interview practice include:

  • post-interview follow-up communications;
  • providing a transcript and/or interview notes to participants;
  • a protocol for follow-up questions or clarification if necessary;
  • the provision of compensation; and
  • whether and how the research findings will be shared with the participant/community of study.

Maintaining relationships with participants before and after an interview is an important element of observing ethical principles, such as, exercising an ethics of care and a commitment to decolonizing knowledge production. Maintaining relationships with your participants may facilitate the process of “giving back” to the community you are researching, or co-creating knowledge with that community (Davis and Craven 2016, p. 92, 94). Depending on the needs of the community in question and their relationship with you as a researcher this could be done by, for example, holding workshops for the joint analysis of data, providing public education, advocacy or training to communities, or co-authoring papers with research participants (Tuhiwai-Smith 2012, p. 16).

However, it is important to respect the wishes of participants in cases where they may refuse further contact, or invitations to participate or collaborate (Jones and Jenkins 2008, p. 481; Tuhiwai-Smith 2012, p. 181).

Case Study:

Participatory Action Research is a collaborative research strategy used by feminist scholars to engage in collaborative reflection and inquiry with research participants to make social change (Davis and Craven 2016, p .93). Photovoice is a technique used in this kind of participatory research  to enable participants to record and reflect on their communities. As Davis and Craven explain:

“After participants take photos centered on a particular theme or topic (which may simply be about their lives), photographs are often displayed publically or to small groups to promote critical dialogue about challenges and concerns they face. Additionally, photovoice – through photographs and critical responses by participants – may be used to lobby policy makers or others in positions of power” (2016, p. 83).

References:

Davis, D and Craven, C., 2016. Feminist Ethnography: Thinking Through Methodologies, Challenges, and Possibilities. Latham, Boulder, New York, London: Rowman & Littlefield.

Jones, A. and Jenkins, K. 2008. Rethinking Collaboration: Working the Indigene-Colonizer Hyphen. In: N. Denzin, Y. Lincoln and L. Tuhiwai-Smith, Handbook of Critical and Indigenous Methodologies. Los Angeles, London, New Delhi and Singapore: Sage, pp. 471-486.

Tuhiwai-Smith, L. 2012. Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples, Zed Books, London, New York.

Hiller, H.H. and DiLuzio, L., 2004. The interviewee and the research interview: Analysing a neglected dimension in research. Canadian Review of Sociology/Revue canadienne de sociologie, 41(1), pp.1-26.

Warren, C.A., Barnes-Brus, T., Burgess, H., Wiebold-Lippisch, L., Hackney, J., Harkness, G., Kennedy, V., Dingwall, R., Rosenblatt, P.C., Ryen, A. and Shuy, R., 2003. After the interview. Qualitative Sociology, 26(1), pp.93-110