6: Face-to-face research

In this chapter we discuss accessibility in the context of face-to-face research with people. This focuses mainly, but not exclusively, on qualitative research data collection.

The advice in this chapter covers choosing a suitable location, ensuring participants can reach the venue, closing and follow-up for the session, and ways to address accessibility issues in individual and group interviews. The guidance is based on the principles of Universal Design (UD) (see Chapter 2) and focuses on offering ways to participate that are flexible and that accommodate varying access needs. The aim is to make it as easy as possible for people to take part. The checklists in this chapter cover several eventualities, so some points won’t apply to every situation and others may not be feasible at the research location.

There are three important points to bear in mind:

  • This book gives generalised advice so plans can be made in advance. The most important thing is to check with and listen to participants, consider ways in which researchers can be flexible to their individual needs, and find solutions that work for both participants and researchers.

  • Make a back-up plan. For example, if someone can’t come to a face-to-face interview, they may be able to continue with a telephone or video interview.

  • If there is no choice about the location or the facilities that are available, it’s important to be realistic with participants about what we can and cannot do to facilitate access, given the constraints of the setting.

The guidance in this chapter is based on a combination of academic references, professional or patient group guidance for specific needs (see Appendix 2) and personal experience.

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