Attending a one-day training course for managing challenging interviews

Daisy Harvey, Health & Wellbeing, Lancaster University (2020 Cohort)

I recently attended a one-day training course (held over two mornings) for managing challenging interviews, which was advertised through the Social Research Association (SRA).  I’m a second year PhD researcher based in the department of health research at Lancaster University, and my PhD is looking at how people living with bipolar disorder talk about risk-taking. The SRA provide regular practical training which covers qualitative and quantitative methods as well as other research methods and techniques. The courses that the SRA provide begin at £220, although if you are a member of the SRA the courses are £165 and student membership costs £25 for a year.  The course that I attended was delivered by Jane Kerr who is a senior researcher at the NatCen social research organisation. 

I signed up for the course because I have no previous experience in conducting qualitative interviews myself, although I have attended training with another provider.  The course was extremely useful and I now feel much more confident about conducting interviews.  The course taught strategies for managing challenging situations that might arise during an interview and also provided the opportunity to take part in role plays to practice managing different interview dynamics.  It was really interesting to hear about the experiences of other people who attended the course and I found the interactive nature of the course very insightful. The researchers leading the course demonstrated a wealth of experience and it was really useful to hear about how the strategies they were teaching have been delivered successfully in real situations, and I’m sure that the techniques that I learned from the course will be valuable to my future research.  The course also made me think more deeply about the setup and arrangement of interviews and helped me to develop a more detailed and thorough ethics application for my PhD.  

The course runs regularly throughout the year and is taking place again in March 2022, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is conducting research with potentially vulnerable populations.  

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