Accepted Paper:

The use of the Interview by service user researchers with marginalised groups  

Authors:

Joe Duffy (Queen's University, Belfast)
Ann McGlone (Willowbank Ltd)
Patricia Cushley

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the opportunities and challenges that can arise when service user researchers interview others who similarly experience social exclusion.

Paper long abstract:

This paper examines the opportunities and challenges that can arise when service users interview others who similarly experience social exclusion. Researchers with experience of physical disability interviewed members of the Travelling Community and other groups to access their views about health and social care provision as part of a study on user involvement and participation in health and social care in Northern Ireland. In these contexts the respondents were suspicious and sceptical towards participation based on negative past experiences of 'involvement' and 'consultation fatigue'.

Evidence will be presented to show how effective the interview then was as a means for gaining the trust of respondents and for ensuring the research findings and recommendations had subsequent meaningful impact. This paper argues that by genuinely attempting to deal with imbalances of power and control in the interview situation and by focusing on trust building, researchers can access better quality information which will in turn result in meaningful influence in terms of research recommendations.

Many of these groups in this research study had never been interviewed before but agreed to do so based on the genuineness and trust which was achieved by the user researchers. This sense of 'relationship' was also influenced by involving service user researchers in interview design and analysis of results. Consequently we believe that the quality of data gathered and research findings published would not have been so effective in terms of impact both on policy development and in the ongoing capacity of user researchers.

Panel P12
The use of the Interview by peer and user researchers with 'seldom heard' groups