Transitioning from Clinical to Qualitative Research Interviewing

  • Matthew R. Hunt McMaster University
  • Lisa S. Chan McGill University
  • Anita Mehta McGill University Health Center


In this paper one aspect of the transition that must be made by experienced clinicians who become involved in conducting qualitative health research is examined, specifically, the differences between clinical and research interviewing. A clinician who is skillful and comfortable carrying out a clinical interview may not initially apprehend the important differences between these categories and contexts of interviewing. This situation can lead to difficulties and diminished quality of data collection because the purpose, techniques and orientation of a qualitative research interview are distinct from those of the clinical interview. Appreciation of these differences between interview contexts and genres, and strategies for addressing challenges associated with these differences, can help clinician researchers to become successful qualitative interviewers.

Author Biographies

Matthew R. Hunt, McMaster University
Post-Doctoral Fellow Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University
Lisa S. Chan, McGill University
PhD candidate School of Nursing
Anita Mehta, McGill University Health Center
Clinical Nurse Specialist and Co-Director Psychosocial Oncology Program Montreal General Hospital