TMA03 DD 305 PERSONAL LIVES AND SOCIAL POLICY
Task 1: Research interview of about 30 minutes, on the effects of retirement upon the mental and/or physical health of an individual. (The interview was carried out on the 6th of December 2010), and due to the sensitive nature of the issues involved the name of the respondent has been changed to protect his integrity. The name John Smith has been used and is not his real name. Task2
Preparation: A highlight of my research objective was discussed with John and it was made clear to him that the research was purely for educational purposes as part of my assessment for DD305. John was made aware that he was helping me with my Open University studies. I also asked John to read the consent form provided in the booklet and he signed two copies and he retained one of the signed copies. The preparation entailed that I downloaded the consent forms in time well before the interview. The next preparation bit was coming up with a research design. This was more challenging than I had anticipated. The questions had to somehow reflect and highlight the relationship between personal lives and social policy. In order to capture as much information questions had to relate to personal lives and social policy (See appendix –Interview with John Smith). It is important to note that John had to agree to take part in the interview and above all he was assured of confidentiality. I considered the issue of voluntary and informed consent very important. John was well informed of what the research entailed and he being known to me made life a bit easy. The choice of the interview venue was reached with consultation with John. It was important to select a venue the interviewee was comfortable in. In this case John felt his home was suitable. Preparation also included testing the recording equipment and related accessories such as adaptors and cable extensions. Coming to the questions, I had to pre-test to gauge how suitable they were given the 30 minute limit. Coming up with the interview topic and the choice of the respondent generated a lot of problems due to the sensitive nature of the issue of retirement and related issues of mental and physical health. John Smith is someone I have known for quite a while as he has been a family friend and confidante. I did not need to negotiate much with him to agree to be interviewed but had to reassure him of the strict confidence in handling the information he provided. John understood clearly that the interview was clearly for educational purposes and was in no way going to be used for any other purpose. John felt comfortable to be interviewed at his home; this was an advantage as it provided an enabling environment in view of sensitive questions I had to ask him. He felt at ease and relaxed. To give him some element of control, the choice of time of the interview was left to him to decide. It was fortunate for me that I was able to accommodate him at 15.00hours on the 6th of December. John was made fully aware that he could stop the interview at any given time during the course of the interview. Technically he was in control of the interview as he could also decline to answer some questions he felt uncomfortable with. The nature of the interview appeared easy at first especially the structuring of the questions. I managed to generate more leading questions as the interview progressed. In order not to capture all information I used a tape recorder and John agreed to be on tape. I have included the interview guide as an appendix. The Interview: The interview started formally. Prior to the interview I phoned John to confirm the interview and also dropped a note so John could have a record of the invite. To be honest I was not prepared for the revelations that came out of the interview with John. I structured leading questions to avoid getting carried over and digressing. The major problem was avoiding losing focus. Some...
References: Fink,J. Lewis, G. Carbine, J. Newman, J. and Korner, B. (2009) DD305 Course Companion, Milton Keynes, The Open University.
Churchill, H. Fink, J. and Harris, F. (2009) Research, analysis and Assessment Booklet -DD305 Personal Lives and social policy, Milton Keynes, The Open University.
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