Conducting Interviews

  • Prior to the interview, ensure that the questions in your interview guide do not victimize, infantize, or “other” participants through the terms you use or through your line of questioning. 


  • Let your participant determine a suitable meeting spot, and confirm that it will allow for quiet, personal conversation.


  • If you are meeting them in an unfamiliar place, or directing them to a specific area, ask if you can provide assistance.


  • When meeting the participant, stand in front of them, tell them your name and who you are. Introduce other people if someone else is with you.


  • Be aware that they may not shake your hand, but you can ask to shake their’s.


  • Ask the individual how they would like assistance to be provided.


  • As needed, offer clear directions. Use terms like, “second door to your right”, or “just to your left”, rather than “over there”.


  • Do not pet or ask to pet a participant’s guide dog unless they have given you specific instructions to do so. Never feed a guide dog.


  • Speak directly to the person. Look them in the eyes and engage with them as you would anyone else. If someone accompanies the participant, do not direct your communication to their companion.


  • Use your normal speaking voice. There is no need to speak loudly unless the participant has requested that you do so.


  • Ask the participant if you may begin recording, and let them know when you have started to do so.


  • To provide opportunities for autonomy and self-identification, ask participants what terms to describe their vision impairment, if any, they identify with. Also, ask how they want to be described in the paper, and what pseudonym they would like to be used.


  • At the end of the interview, let the participant know it has concluded, and ask if they would like assistance. Do not just walk away.