Telephone interviewing: is it compatible with interpretive phenomenological research?

Contemp Nurse. 2002 Feb;12(1):58-63. doi: 10.5172/conu.12.1.58.


The telephone has long been used as a medium of communication. In more recent years the telephone has become a legitimate tool in marketing and survey research (Barriball et al. 1996). Telephone interviewing is becoming an increasingly popular form of interview for qualitative research (Carr & Worth 2001). Whilst there have been discussions in the literature on logistical advantages and disadvantages of telephone interviewing, there has been little debate as to whether this form of interview is compatible with qualitative health research. Much of the literature reporting this interview method is based on quantitative or structured questionnaire style research under the guise of 'qualitative' research. So the question remains: Is the telephone interview compatible with interpretive phenomenological research? This paper describes how telephone interviewing was used in a recently conducted interpretive phenomenological study, and argues that this is a methodologically and economically valuable data collection technique in qualitative research. Qualitative researchers should not rely exclusively on the face-to-face interview, as the telephone interview can be an equally valuable data collection approach.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding / psychology*
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic*
  • Parents
  • Research Design
  • Telephone*