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Interviewing to Ascertain the Effectiveness of Public Pedagogy in Public Health-Based Philanthropic Challenges

By: Published: 2017 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases in Health
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Research sometimes leads you down unexpected paths. Although not trained as a public health researcher, a passing interest in a curious cultural phenomenon led me to conduct a cross-disciplinary study on a public health topic from an educational point of view. Being new to the field had me approach the background research without preconceptions and with a willingness to go where the literature pointed in terms of methodology. When it pointed toward semi-structured interviews, I quickly confronted the practicalities of using a method with which I was not familiar. The recruitment of participants, sampling bias, the phrasing of my questions, and the basic logistics of conducting interviews while away from one’s home base all presented challenges that needed to be overcome through anticipation, adjustment, or acceptance and acknowledgment of less than ideal circumstances and outcomes. This case presents new researchers with a set of circumstances and responses that can be analyzed in terms of successful and less than optimal responses and affords them the opportunity to think through better approaches to the practicalities of research methodology. It also provides encouragement to take risks in terms of research and research design, albeit with the proviso that such risks are calculated and the decisions informed.

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