Building rapport: Improve interviews to capture detailed responses from parents of children with disabilities

This article covers general strategies for engaging with interviewees in adapted physical activity and education contexts.


Interviews are a commonly utilized research method within most qualitative inquiries. This method can provide a great amount of insight into the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of an individual surrounding her or his experiences. Often parents are used as proxies to their children in cases where the child has a disability and is unable to effectively communicate in ways that researchers can capture. However, simply asking the "good" questions is often not enough to provide useful insight into their world. So, how does a researcher communicate with parents to allow for insightful inquiry and build interpretation? This article discusses the necessity for thoughtful inquiry when conducting interviews, in order to ensure trustworthy, usable evidence. By providing insight on past literature, key interviewing concepts are explored to provide suggestions that will assist in guiding the development of the interview itself, as it is often an overlooked and ill-reported on this facet of interview research. These suggestions are contrasted using prior physical activity research involving parents of children with disabilities to provide further insight into how to effectively conduct and report an interview.

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