Sensitive interviews include interviews about emotionally difficult topics or deeply personal issues, interviews with vulnerable populations or research that could have negative consequences for participants. What are the ethical considerations in conducting such interviews? What are the risks for respondents and how should these be these managed? What will researchers need to consider in order to gain ethical approval for such research? What are the researcher’s responsibilities? What skills and competencies are required in the conduct of such interviews? What issues might arise in practice and what strategies can interviewers employ in the moment? What are the possible impacts for researchers and how can these be addressed? Participants are invited to bring their own research projects and examples, experiences, questions and concerns to the session.
Note: Students attending this session are expected to have a solid understanding of the principles of informed consent and are strongly urged to attend the session on Informed consent on 25th March.
Josie Dixon is an Assistant Professorial Research Fellow in PSSRU, Department of Health Policy, LSE. As an academic, and in previous policy research roles, Josie has conducted a wide range of sensitive research, including with older people who have been abused, people who have been bereaved, people with dementia and their carers, children about recreational drug use, care home residents, people participating in riots and adults about their sexual behaviour.
Jenny Graham is a co-founder of ResearchAbility, a specialist qualitative research consultancy that helps clients in the not for profit sector build research skills. As well as training and mentoring, ResearchAbility carries out research. Jenny previously worked at the National Centre for Social Research, the UK’s largest not-for-profit social research institute. Jenny’s experience in sensitive research includes research with survivors of sexual assaults, victims of criminal offences, young people receiving substance misuse treatment, young people with convictions against them and employees who have experienced bullying, harassment and discrimination.
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