Journal article Open Access

Data access, research transparency, and interviews; the interview methods appendix

Bleich, Erik; Pekkanen, Robert

Interviews provide a valuable source of evidence, but are of-ten neglected or mistrusted because of limited data access for other scholars or inadequate transparency in research produc-tion or analysis. This incomplete transparency creates uncer-tainty about the data and leads to a “credibility gap” on inter-view data that has nothing to do with the integrity of the re-searcher. We argue that addressing transparency concerns head-on through the creation of common reporting standards on interview data will diminish this uncertainty, and thus ben-efit researchers who use interviews, as well as their readers and the scholarly enterprise as a whole. As a concrete step, we specifically advocate the adoption of an “Interview Methods Appendix” as a reporting standard. Data access can involve difficult ethical issues such as interviewee confidentiality, but we argue that the more data access interviewers can provide, the better. The guiding principles of the Statement on Data Access and Research Transparency (DA-RT) will also enhance scholarship that utilizes interviews.

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