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Semi-Structured Interviews: African American Clergy Perceptions Regarding Mental Health

By: Published: 2017 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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This case study provides insight into the process of a doctoral research project aimed at exploring the perceptions of African American clergy regarding mental health stigmas. The research focused on perceptions, stigmas, beliefs, and/or practices that African American clergy have and how those perceptions, stigmas, beliefs, and/or practices are promoted among their church members and community. The research was driven by two primary research questions: (a) What stigmas do African American clergy have regarding mental illness? (b) Do African American clergy promote the use of secular counseling for mental health treatment? The primary data collection method I used for this qualitative research was semi-structured interviews. This case study included a personal reflection of my attempt, as the researcher, to engage African American clergy in a sensitive, real-life discussion about mental health from their perspective. It exposed that conducting research using interviews can be full of unforeseen challenges that have to be navigated throughout the duration of the project. More so, it emphasizes the need for close attention to be paid to institutional board review requirements regarding human participants, ethical considerations, and reflexivity with topics that involve a personal interest in the field of research.

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