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A qualitative research interview involves asking research participants a set of questions. This may sound deceptively simple, particularly to clinicians who are experienced in conducting consultations with their patients, but qualitative research interviewing is a form of social interaction in which the interviewer must be able to listen to, and encourage, the accounts of others so that they feel safe to tell their story or share their views. Interviews are the building blocks of a rich study and enable a rigorous analysis, so choosing an appropriate and relevant sample is a key step in this process. Sampling can be purposive, whereby the researcher/research team decides who should be included, driven by the research question. The term ‘theoretical sampling’ is generally used to describe an iterative process in which sampling develops from early analyses and explanations derived from the data. Qualitative interviews generally need to be recorded so that they can be transcribed for detailed analysis.

Original publication





Book title

Qualitative Research in Health Care

Publication Date



43 - 55