Breaching the wall: interviewing people from other cultures

Melanie J Birks, Ysanne Chapman, Karen Francis
Journal of Transcultural Nursing: Official Journal of the Transcultural Nursing Society 2007, 18 (2): 150-6
The interview as a data collection tool is an essential component of qualitative research. Many nurses are familiar with the process of interviewing through its use in the practice environment; however, in-depth interviewing for the purpose of research is a unique process. The ability to conduct an effective in-depth interview requires skill in the use of specific techniques, in particular when interviewing people from other cultures. A number of factors specific to the researcher, the participant, and the research context can affect the interview procedure. As global margins diminish, nurse researchers will increasingly find themselves working with people from ethnic groups that are different from the dominant culture. This article discusses strategies to improve the interview process in such circumstances. Techniques to enhance the process, along with avoidable potential pitfalls, will be illustrated using an example of conducting research with participants from the culturally diverse environment of Malaysian Borneo.

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