International Practice Development Journal


Title of ArticleBeing person-centred in qualitative interviews: reflections on a process
Type of ArticleCritical Reflection on Practice Development
Author/sBerit Margrethe Sandvik and Brendan McCormack
ReferenceVolume 8, Issue 2, Article 8
Date of PublicationNovember 2018
Keywordsauthenticity, facilitation, person-centred dialogue, person-centred research, qualitative interviews, research methods

Background: In this article we reflect on the experience of the first author (Berit Margrethe Sandvik) of conducting seven qualitative research interviews with public health nurses trained in parenting guidance by the International Child Development Programme at the University of South-Eastern Norway. The interviews focused on how the nurses use a particular set of competencies in their daily work at the health centre. A person-centred practice framework was used to reflect on whether person-centred prerequisites and processes could be recognised in the completed interview processes, and how a greater focus on a person-centred approach could improve the quality of data collection. The results of this reflection are presented in this paper.

Aim: To understand how a researcher can use person-centred principles to facilitate qualitative interviews.

Findings: Being reflexive is essential to a person-centred approach in qualitative research interviews. It relates to the researcher’s ability to facilitate an engagement that promotes authenticity, self- determination and reciprocity. Knowing oneself without letting conscious or unconscious values and perceptions overshadow the opportunities that arise in gaining an understanding of the participant’s values and perceptions is essential. Through being vigilant in all senses, an holistic, mutually respectful dialogue can be created, through which new knowledge and understandings can be generated.

Conclusion: It is important to consider person-centredness in the planning and undertaking of research methods. While there is an increasing evidence base about person-centredness in health and social care practice, there continues to be a dearth of publications that focus on its role in research methods.

Implications for practice:

  • Developing the ability to facilitate mutually respectful dialogue in research interviews is important in researcher development programmes
  • Facilitating flow and creativity through engaging all senses in the dialogical situation has the potential to create a more person-centred approach to interview practices
  • Being open to and aware of the lifeworlds of others, and having the ability to adjust one’s own pre-understanding, facilitates an engagement that promotes authenticity, self-determination and reciprocity
  • There is a need for more studies to use person-centred principles and practices explicitly in the conduct of research. This article provides a reflexive framework for doing that and suggests principles that can be applied in future research studies

This article by Berit Margrethe Sandvik and Brendan McCormack is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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