‘I don’t even remember anything’: Optimising the choice of method when interviewing preschoolers
- Location: Sal IX, Universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala
- Doctoral student: Fängström, Karin
- About the dissertation
- Organiser: Socialmedicin
- Contact person: Fängström, Karin
The overall aim of this thesis was to examine the ability of the In My Shoes computer assisted interview and a Standard verbal interview to elicit accurate information and evaluative content, when used with preschool-aged children and determine their suitability in relation to situationally shy children.
There is increasing need and demand in various contexts to take children’s perspectives into account, including the views and opinions of the youngest children. However, listening to the voices of children is a challenging and complex task, and the field is normatively loaded. There is thus a growing need for valid and reliable methods and techniques that aid children to verbalise their experiences. The overall aim of this thesis was to examine the ability of the In My Shoes computer assisted interview and a Standard verbal interview to elicit accurate information and evaluative content, when used with preschool-aged children and determine their suitability in relation to situationally shy children.
Our studies show that the two interview methods, in general, provided equally accurate and complete statements. In addition, the IMS interview can be a more useful and suitable tool during the rapport phase with situationally shy children compared to the Standard verbal method. For non-shy children, the interview methods were equally adequate. In relation to evaluative information, the recommended open-ended questions in the Standard verbal interview were insufficient. Children appeared to need evaluative questions in order to provide evaluative content. Examining the ability of IMS to elicit subjective experiences showed that using IMS aided children to provide detailed and varied descriptions of emotions, somatic experiences, and objects such as toys.
Thus, when choosing the optimal child interview method, there are several aspects that need to be considered, including the degree to which children’s statements need to be accurate and complete and/or contain evaluative information and the child’s level of shyness. These studies have increased the number of evaluated methods for interviewing children and contributed to new knowledge about the challenging task of optimising the choice of method for interviewing preschoolers.