Managing challenging interviews

Join us for a training course in partnership with the Social Research Association.
SRA webinar
  • Event time:
    9th October 2023 10:00 – 10th October 2023 15:00
  • Format:

This live online course explores the key issues in planning and conducting qualitative interviews with vulnerable participants or with challenging dynamics. (NatCen trainers) * Price:  £165 for SRA members, £220 for non-members. It runs over two mornings and uses Zoom software *


This two day course is designed to explore the key issues in planning and conducting qualitative interviews with vulnerable participants or where challenging dynamics might be encountered. As well as providing insight from the trainers’ own experiences, the course aims to offer a forum where participants can discuss their own studies and reflect on these issues away from the hectic day-to-day experience of carrying out applied research.  The course will be delivered through a mix of taught and practical sessions by qualitative researchers from NatCen who have extensive experience of conducting in-depth interviews for complex qualitative studies.


By the end of the course, participants will:

  • Be able to identify the factors that affect how vulnerable research participants might be;
  • Be able to identify the potential risks to participants and researchers and develop strategies for managing these risks;
  • Have a greater awareness and understanding of strategies to manage challenging interview dynamics; and
  • Have experience in managing these dynamics.


  • How to assess and manage vulnerability and risk throughout the life of a research project (taught and practical sessions);
  • A brief overview of the principles of qualitative interviewing; and
  • Strategies for managing challenging interviews (taught, demo and practical sessions).

Who will benefit?

You will find this course useful if you:

  • Are an experienced qualitative researcher who wants to learn new skills in conducting interviews with vulnerable participants or to broaden or refresh your existing skills;
  • Are experienced in conducting challenging qualitative interviews but would like an opportunity to discuss any issues arising with other researchers;
  • Commission or manage qualitative research in central or local government, health or other applied policy sectors and need to understand the issues involved in conducting research with vulnerable or hard to reach participants.

This course assumes an understanding of the principles of qualitative research and experience of having conducted qualitative research interviews.


  • Jane Kerr
    Senior Researcher
    View full profile

    Jane Kerr is a Qualitative Senior Researcher in the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen)'s Crime and Justice team. She has worked on a range of qualitative studies about gambling behaviour, and a study for the Sentencing Council exploring online fraud and its impact on victims.

    Jane delivers training on the qualitative in-depth interviewing course. She also has a background in quantitative research and has previously worked on workplace surveys and a panel survey about Families and Children.

    Prior to joining NatCen in 2003, Jane read Human Communication at Manchester University before completing a MA in Social Anthropology, at Durham University.