Conference presentation in the Public Health Association of Australia Conference, 10th Sep 2012
Title: Development of a ‘life-story’ qualitative interviewing approach for a national study on international dental graduates
Duration: 5 minutes snap shot, plus 2 minutes questions
Introduction: The art of qualitative interviewing is a competence developed slowly. The aim of this pilot study was threefold: to design and develop a rigorous qualitative interviewing technique, interview guide and sampling strategies within a participatory environment for conduct of a larger study on the experience of international dental graduates (IDGs) in Australia.
Methods: The participatory environment included the interviewer (BM) and a purposive sample of 12 IDGs. The process comprised in-depth interviews followed by discussions. Interviews were recorded digitally, transcribed verbatim (orthographic and time stamped) and verified for accuracy with participants. Participant answers and interviewee questions were analysed. A standard qualitative software NVIVO9 was used to aid data management and analysis.
Results: Critical analysis of the interviewing technique led to the development of three types of questions (direct, comparative and hypothetical). Analysis of the responses led to a hierarchical design used to tailor a life-story approach, based on key events in IDGs professional careers (starting from entry into profession up to future dreams). The interview guide incorporated questioning styles and events to suit IDGs from different backgrounds. Sampling techniques were refined as a mixture of selective snowball and theoretical sampling based on five distinct groups of IDGs.
Conclusion: The design of the main study was informed by the pilot study through testing and development of the interviewing technique, interview guide and sampling strategy.
Key message: The importance of pilot studies in large-scale interviewing studies cannot be underestimated, especially when researchers intend spending significant time and resources in fieldwork.