Nursing & Care


Conducting Home Interviews – Possible to Learn and Deepen Understanding on Some Practical and Ethical Issues

Heinonen Kristiina PhD, MNSc, Teacher, RN, PHN.

Background: The systematic literature and knowledge review reveals that it is important to discuss home interviews practical and ethical questions. This research uses a hermeneutic phenomenological research approach.

Aim: To describe some practical and ethical issues in conducting home interviews as exemplified by multiple-birth families.

Participants and Research Context: The data consists of open-form interviews with multiple-birth family parents (12 mothers and 7 fathers), the documents they sent in writing thereafter, and the researcher’s notes. The authentic context yielded rich data on parents’ experiences. Ethics approval for this research was obtained from the Ethics Committee of the University Hospital and the relevant health care organizations.

Results: A face-to-face in-person interview in the participant’s own area gives a good possibility to have rich data and to see non-verbal communication. The lifeworld of the parent of multiples can be described as “a state of constant vigilance”, “ensuring that they can continue to cope”, and “opportunities to share with other people”.

Discussion: Ethical questions are important in every situation throughout the whole research process. These questions involve visiting participants’ homes, having oral and written consent, respecting interaction with them and their children’s safety, and knowing and respecting guidelines. Gathering data at home needs strong ethics, high sensitivity, flexibility, and enough time. Careful planning is needed also for safety, especially that of children.

Conclusion: Home interviews are specific situations that require effective communication between the researcher and participants. It means that the researcher needs to prepare for the situation carefully, concentrate, and harness all of their senses. Supervisor support providing discussion and the opportunity to reflect on the researcher’s experience is important. Simulation pedagogy could support researchers’ skills and lead to mutual learning.