Telephone Interviewing

Conducting interviews over the telephone presents a few unique challenges, compared to interviewing in person. Here are my recommendations for recording the interview and obtaining informed consent.

Recording

Ordinarily I would record my interviews on a dictaphone with a microphone, which I then transfer to my computer and transcribe. With a telephone conversation, obviously that’s not possible. My solution was to use a Nokia mobile phone as this has a record option built into the software. Just open the menu when you’re in a call and press ‘Record’.

I’m sure there are third–party applications available for BlackBerry and iPhone, but they don’t appear to support recording natively. When you’re recording, both parties hear a discreet beep as a reminder that the call is being recorded. Just make sure you ask permission before you begin recording, which leads me on to the next point.

I read out the main points of the informed consent form, and then asked my respondent to say aloud that they agreed to the terms of the form. I also emailed a blank copy of the informed consent form to my respondent for their reference.