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Data collection - interviews

Interviews offer a flexible context for data collection this guidance provides information on the ethical considerations.


Interviews - whether with individuals, pairs or groups - are a method of data collection which can enable researchers to gather rich, detailed information from participants.

Used widely in qualitative research, interviews can offer a flexible context for data collection to be conducted face-to-face, over the telephone, or using online methods.


If you are planning to conduct interviews as part of your research project, it is important to bear in mind the following ethical considerations:

  • Preparations you need to make to collect your interview data (e.g., note-taking, recording devices, arranging transcription). Remember that if your interviews are going to be audio or video recorded, this must be made clear in your participant information materials and informed consent process.
  • Accessibility considerations for face-to-face or remote interviews.
    • Remote interviews may require participants to have access to a telephone or device, specific online platforms, a level of digital literacy, and/or a safe, reliable internet connection.
    • Conducting interviews in person may require travel or arrangements for those with caring responsibilities.
  • Privacy and confidentiality – will the interview be conducted in a safe space? Is there a risk of being overheard? Consider the appropriateness of the location for both researchers and participants.
  • Telephone interviews: if you are conducting interviews from your personal mobile or home phone, turning off caller ID will protect researcher confidentiality. Remember to inform participants of the time you will call and that your call will be from a withheld number.
  • The nature of the topic you will discuss. If your research topic is particularly sensitive, it may be useful to consider the University’s guidance on the impact of secondary trauma as a researcher.
  • Potential risks to yourself or others. You should consider completing a risk assessment (template available here), and familiarise yourself with the University’s Lone Working Policy and associated code of practice.

Online interviews

The University’s approved platform for research interviews is Microsoft Teams. You can find further guidance about conducting online interviews here.

Further reading

Selected resources from Sage Research Methods can be accessed via your University of Bath login. For guidance on conducting interviews see:

Find out more about research ethics and integrity

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