Conducting Challenging Interviews

This course provides participants with an introduction to conducting challenging qualitative interviews with vulnerable groups. It provides participants with an understanding of how vulnerability and risk is assessed in qualitative interviewing. It then offers guidance and examples on how to avoid harm to interviewees and researchers in qualitative interviews, including via the assessment of risk. The course introduces participants to the ethics and practicalities of conducting challenging interviews. This includes guidance on: recruitment and consent, designing interview tools, facilitating the interview discussion, and controlling the interview dynamic.

The course is delivered online via a combination of presentations, discussions and practical activities. It is designed to equip participants to confidently conduct challenging interviews with vulnerable participants and on sensitive topics in applied research projects across a range of settings. By the end of the course participants will be able to manage difficult or challenging interview dynamics.

Course Content

  • Defining vulnerability and risk in research
  • How to assess risk and vulnerability
  • Avoiding harm to participants and researchers
  • Designing interview tools
  • Conducting a sensitive interview
  • Controlling the dynamics of a sensitive interview
  • The importance of listening
  • Examples of interviews with vulnerable participants and on sensitive topics typically including: children and young people; victims of crime; the bereaved; health, illness and wellbeing
  • Ethical considerations and guidelines