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Qualitative Approaches

When undertaking taking qualitative research, the RRC believes that the interview should be a conversation rather than a traditional question-answer interview. As such, we use semi-structured interview guides and train our researchers extensively so that they understand the core questions we are trying to answer. This gives them the confidence and freedom to “follow” the youth where they guide us as researchers. In our experience, if a topic or question is not relevant or important to youth, they do not elaborate, while if something is of importance to them or has greatly influenced or impacted them, they have a lot to say about the topic.

We also try to use a visual representation of what we will talk about in the interview. We have found that this puts the youth at ease and helps them to feel in charge of the process. For example, when talking about service use experience and histories, we have used timelines to map out all the services youth have used, which helps to not only guide the interview but give youth a chance to reflect on what we are going to talk about at the start of the interview. We also ask the youth to include important events and people on their timelines. Click here for an example of a timeline.

The Resilience Research Centre has integrated some innovative qualitative tools to help document the complexity of young people’s lives when growing up in adverse circumstances. These tools are particularly well suited to capturing “hidden” aspects of resilience across cultures and contexts. Click here to learn more.

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