Why do people participate in research interviews? Participant orientations and ethical contracts in interviews with victims of interpersonal violence
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Researchers are increasingly interested in why people want to participate in qualitative interview studies, particularly what they hope to gain from participating. The present paper contributes to this research agenda by analysing the motivations of victims of interpersonal violence: a group that is considered ethically challenging to involve in research, given their history of being intruded upon. The analysis is based on 174 qualitative interviews from three separate studies: two on intimate partner violence and one on sexual assault. A key finding is that many victims welcome the opportunity to participate and often use the interviews for their own purposes. We identified three different ‘participant orientations’, or ways victims relate to the interview and the research, including ‘telling for oneself’, ‘telling for others’ and ‘telling for the researcher’. We discuss how these orientations imply different ethical contracts between the participant and researcher and their links to recruitment methods.