The data from in-depth interviews are limited in their generalizability but are critical as the basis on which population-level survey questions are formed and/or help researchers make sense of the patterns observed in quantitative studies.
Semi-structured interview protocols focus the attention of the interviewee on specific experiences or domains of their life, while providing sufficient space in which they can describe them. I have employed this approach throughout my career, as seen in my publication on Identity Construction in Old Age, my Graduate work on Aging and Immigration, and my postdoctoral research on Access to Care (BACEMS). It was also the primary data collection method used to understand Leonard’s needs-driven dementia-compromised behaviour, Chinese-Canadian pathways to a diagnosis of dementia, Punjabi seniors’ access to health promotion programs (S4AC case study), Chinese-Canadian patient and family experiences of quality of life and care and family councils in Long-term Care, and the perspectives of Punjabi and Korean persons with dementia and their family caregivers on their efforts to access to dementia care (Building Trust).
In our Lived Experiences research, we took the in-depth interview a step further by encouraging life story narratives. After collecting open-ended stories about their lives in an initial interview, we encouraged participants to drill more deeply in a second interview into the “incentives for their life course decisions to include social context and structural realities.”
I have been using qualitative data management software, such as Nudist, Atlas.ti and NVivo to identify themes across the different interviews collected for these projects since 1997.