Ethics & Engagement across the Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programmes

Hi Colleagues,

I must say I am enjoying data collection. So far so good. However the question I always ask myself is "Is it a good practice to refer to the study guide when conducting interviews with study participants?" 

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Comment by Maureen Njue on March 17, 2015 at 5:30

Hi Mphatso, hope you have been doing well. Glad to hear you are enjoying data collection,  I think its one of the best times in doing a project.

About whether its good practice to keep referring to the study guide when conducting an interview, I guess it’s not really a matter of whether it’s right or wrong. Initially when you are starting to do the interviews, you are still getting used to the interview guide, I think its ok to refer to it - you don't want to find that you missed a whole section because you did not want to look at the guide.

You realize that as you get used to doing the interviews, you get more comfortable using the tool, you almost know it by heart, you probe or prompt to get clarifications or new information almost automatically. At this point you'll just refer to the guide to check that everything has been covered. All this happens over time - at times I get the feeling that I have mastered the tool and the process just when am about to finish the data collection. 

All said, I think it’s good to strive early on in the data collection process, to master your tool as best as you can as this helps you to relax  and be at ease when conducting an interview and you are also able to follow and concentrate on the information you are getting from the interviewer which helps in knowing where the gaps are and what you need to follow up on – You can’t effectively do this if you are always worried about what comes next in the guide.  

Hope this helps

Comment by Dina Rippon on March 17, 2015 at 10:21

Hi Mphatso, 

Thanks for your update and your question. I think Maureen's answer makes a lot of sense. In case you're interested in hearing more thoughts on the matter, I'll alert the rest of the Network to your question. Dina

Comment by Mphatso Mwapasa on March 17, 2015 at 13:05

Thank you so much Maureen! Your advice is well detailed and helpful.

Comment by Mphatso Mwapasa on March 17, 2015 at 13:10

Hi Dinnah,

I think Maureen's answer is well detailed. However, I wouldn't mind alerting the whole network. Their additions are welcome.

Comment by Neema Mtunthama on March 26, 2015 at 9:30

Good question Mphatso and great comments Maureen! I found these useful. These have come at the right moment too as I'm initiating data collection. Will see how things go on.


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