Focus on qualitative methods. "Not as bad as it could have been": assessing and mitigating harm during research interviews on sensitive topics

Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


NLM Title Abbreviation

Res Nurs Health

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Research in nursing & health


OBJECTIVE: NA. DESIGN: NA. SETTING: NA. POPULATION: NA. INTERVENTIONS: NA. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): NA. RESULTS/CONCLUSIONS: Nurse investigators insist that their research not inflict needless suffering on participants during any phase of a study. When a study involves a sensitive topic such as loss, such suffering is of particular concern. Evaluating the impact of sensitive research simply by looking at decontextualized comments made throughout the interview may provide misleading data about participants' responses to a study. The importance of assessment of risk from psychological distress during all phases of the study cannot be minimized. Knowing strategies that researchers can use to minimize risk, and recognizing self-protective strategies that respondents use, will better protect respondents' psychological well-being even when the interview is on an extremely sensitive topic. [CINAHL abstract]


Research Subjects, Interviews, Emotions, Professional-Family Relations, Crying, Personal Loss, Funding Source, Nurse Researchers

Published Article/Book Citation

Research in nursing & health, 21:1 (1998) pp.91-97.

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