Problematic interviewee behaviors in qualitative research

West J Nurs Res. 2005 Mar;27(2):188-99; discussion 200-9. doi: 10.1177/0193945904268068.


The interview is a staple of many qualitative approaches. Although textbooks offer extensive guidance to researchers about conducting interviews, less guidance is available about problematic interviewee behaviors, such as flattery or statements indicative of social desirability response bias. In this study, a secondary analysis of 22 phenomenological interview transcripts, we sought to examine problematic interviewee behaviors. More than 300 pages of typed text were subjected to line-by-line scrutiny, yielding only six potential instances of the phenomenon. Each could be interpreted several ways. What appeared to be flattery could also be perceived as simple gratitude or appreciation. We concluded that problematic behavior was rare in this data set.

MeSH terms

  • Behavior*
  • Interviews as Topic*
  • Nursing Methodology Research / methods
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Social Desirability