Integrating Metatheory to Enhance Qualitative Interviewing: A Safety Campaign Exemplar

Marifran Mattson, Emily Joy Haas


This article examines the ways in which integrating a metatheory to guide qualitative interviews supports health theory and the research methodology of interviewing. This study applied Harm Reduction Theory (HRT) as a metatheory to the Reconceptualized Health Belief Model (RHBM) in targeting motorcyclists to practice safety behaviors. After integrating the metatheory with a health behavior theory to develop research questions and frame the interview guide, we recruited and interviewed 37 at-risk motorcyclists. The process of interviewing participants and the results of the study support the integration of harm reduction metatheory to enhance interview methodology as a way to effectively engage participants by building rapport, encouraging participants to apply theory, and empowering them to be open and honest in their responses. This research process highlights ways in which incorporating a metatheory to guide theory diverges from the more traditional, theory-driven approach to interviewing.

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