Getting a consent for participating in a research interview is a critical success factor for studies. And especially so if you need to extract delicate information from the respondents, it can really pose to be a task! Following are the parts that should be included in a consent form pertaining to a research interview:
What, How Long and How?
As an interviewer, you have to disclose your participants explicitly, without using jargon or any ambiguous term, what you are asking from them. You have to state that the interview process will take in three parts, 90 minutes each spaced over a week or two. You will also let them know that the interview will be audiotaped.
To What End and For Whom?
You will also explain intellectual and instrumental purposes of your research. Update your all participants which topic will be studied through an interview, and if you are interviewing them for collecting data for your research, you have to affirm that the data will be exclusively used for your dissertation or thesis.
You should also update your participants who is going to use or know about the collected data apart from you. For instance, if you have to record an interview of teachers, it is their right to know whether or not the transcript will be used by the principal, dean, parents, and the like.
Risks, Discomforts, and Vulnerability
You will also inform your potential interviewees about risks that they might be taking by participating in the research. Considering the sensitivity of a research topic, you will indicate your participants what potential discomforts can be caused to them and how you will work to minimise them.
Rights of the Participants
You can attenuate the risk of participants by letting them know the rights that they have when they go in for a research interview. These rights include, but are not limited, to the following:
The fundamental right of participants is to be completely voluntary. They have full authority to refuse to participate in an interview if they find the topic to be extremely sensitive of which any information can be leaked.
Right to withdraw
Research participants have full authority to withdraw from an interview anytime when they wish. A 90-minute timeframe has been designed to maintain an equitable relationship between you and your participants. However, if an interview process leads participants to share divulging information that they regret later on, they might become uncomfortable and therefore they have the full right to withdraw.
Right of reviewing interview material
Participants have full right to request the material to withhold. They have the right to review their responses before they are published. You cannot deny sharing an audiotape or an interview transcript if requested by your participants.
Right to privacy
Your potential participants have right to request not to disclose any confidential information. This is an assumption that the identities of interviewees will be kept hidden. However, interview material cannot guarantee about the confidentiality of identity as readers might recognise a participant by reading shared experience in the context of his or her life if they know the participant. The right to privacy also involves updating participants who will transcribe an interview. If it is not an interviewer, you should tell them what steps you will take to assure that no information will be misused.
Inform briefly about the possible benefits to participants that they may receive by attending an interview. As a researcher, you will devise a modest statement of benefits that will not raise undue expectations among participants.
Confidentiality of Records
Of course, the data you are collecting from your participants you will use for your research that will be published in a journal. The data will be accessed by the global audience, and therefore it cannot be treated as “confidential”. So, update your participants that the term confidentiality refers to their names, contact information, source of records, transcripts, and any other material that can disclose the identity of participants.
Another aspect that you need to make clear to your participants is the extent to which you will use the material collected during the interview. You will also outline in a consent form the various uses of the collected information. Further, inform your participants if they can expect any remuneration for participating in an interview.
Special Conditions for Minors
If your participants are less than 18-years-old, you can take informed consent of their parents and legal guardian. You must obtain the permission of a parent or guardian even if you can seek the approval of children.
Contact information and copies of the form
Chances are participants will try to contact you after a research interview. It is crucial that you provide them with contact information that includes more than just an email address so that they can contact you and know about the research.