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WCCEH Workshop: Training in conducting interviews on sensitive topics


WCCEH Workshop: Training in conducting interviews on sensitive topics

Are you conducting interviews on a sensitive topic as part of research project? Come to our workshop and learn practical skills for conducting interviews about difficult or upsetting subjects with care, concern, and tact.

Research interviews can be vulnerable moments for participants who are talking about personal experiences with difficult topics, especially physical and emotional pain, trauma, stigma, and discrimination; it’s important that researchers are able to respond to participants appropriately and sensitively. Such discussions can also prove challenging for researchers who may be emotionally affected either during the interview or subsequently, especially if they have experiences related to the research topic. This workshop will help you to learn strategies and practices to conduct interviews on sensitive topics safely and ethically.

The workshop will be led by Dr Liz McDonnell, a qualitative researcher with extensive experience in conducting interviews on sensitive topics. Dr McDonnell will share her experiences and recommendations for best practice, and provide opportunities for attendees to practice these skills.

This training will be particularly relevant to PhD students and early career researchers who may be conducting sensitive interviews for the first time; the training will be interdisciplinary, and will be relevant to researchers from a wide variety of backgrounds. The workshop will not only be a chance to learn from an expert and experienced researcher, but also to meet others who are embarking upon similar research and to share concerns and to work collectively to think through complex issues and practices.

Attendence is free but please to register as places are limited. Coffee and Lunch will be provided.


9.30am Coffee and Registration

10am Workshop (Part 1) 11.30am

Coffee and Refreshments

12.00 noon Workshop (Part 2)

1.30pm Lunch, served at the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health


Liz McDonnell is an experienced social researcher who has worked for a number of years in academiS and community settings conducting research around crime, health (HIV/AIDS, mental health), sexuality, family/parenting, disability, education, employment disadvantage and psychotherapy-related issues. Her PhD was a longitudinal, comparative study of parenthood desires and intentions. She is employed as a research fellow in the Sociology Department at Sussex University, teaches on the MA Gender Studies and also chairs the Social Science and Arts Research Ethics Committee. Her current research projects are around institutional culture in universities and equality and diversity, families in motion, communication culture in Pr*son and she is developing the social impact of recent research on asexuality.

This workshop is funded by the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health and a University of Exeter Researcher-led Initiative Award.

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