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The importance of reflexivity in data collection methods for qualitative midwifery research

02 December 2023
Volume 31 · Issue 12


Interviews remain a crucial component of data collection for qualitative studies. Semi-structured interviews, in which the researcher asks preset questions and follows up while the subject responds, can reveal a participant's experiences, beliefs and opinions. Unfortunately, as qualitative researchers, it can be challenging to collect data when a mother and infant require flexible hours, rather than defined. This paper aims to explore a midwife's reflections on the difficulties of collecting data in qualitative research with mothers of very young babies. It will also discuss some important considerations before conducting interviews among mothers with young babies. Timing considerations and internet connections must be prepared properly. Through early identification of alternate solutions for potential difficulties that may arise throughout the data collection process, such reflexivity can influence future planning of effective data gathering.

Qualitative research offers valuable insights into people's experiences, yet a definitive, universally accepted definition of this methodology remains elusive. It encompasses diverse theoretical and methodological approaches, representing both a perspective and a mode of inquiry (Denny and Weckesser, 2018). In qualitative studies, interviews stand as a pivotal tool for data collection. Semi-structured interviews, characterised by researchers posing predetermined questions or topics and subsequently engaging in follow-up discussions with subjects, have the potential to yield profound insights into subjects’ experiences, beliefs and opinions (Peters and Halcomb, 2015).

In the context of nursing and midwifery, it is important to comprehend the intricate behaviours and individual attributes exhibited during interviews for data collection. This understanding is vital, acknowledging the broad scope of the discipline. Researchers must comprehend how mothers engage in interviews, as it allows them to reflect on their personal experiences and biases, thereby illuminating their reflexive presence in research interactions (Elliott, 2011). By exploring the voices and perspectives of mothers themselves, it is possible to attain a comprehensive understanding of their experiences and needs (Bell et al, 2021).

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