Qualitative research interviews - include them all?


I am asking for some advice really. Basically my research is a qualitative and draws upon semi-structured interviews. However even though I have a topic guide (which has worked well most of the time) sometimes participants really don't say anything relevant. I know that might seem bad and you could argue that everything is relevant / everything is data, but I would suggest sometimes for whatever reason it is impossible to keep on topic. I try to keep re-introducing the research topic, but also feel in the end the most ethical thing is too draw it to an end and thank them for contribution. Would you include such interviews in your overall participant number? or would you simply not bother too transcribe. I am really struggling with recruitment so kinda need the numbers but equally feel possibly not being truly honest if I include them but do not draw upon anything said. As I say any advice would be good or not found anything in books, papers etc about such an issue Thanks in advance


Hi rrhood,

I think you should include them, not only because you are struggling for numbers, yet also from an ethical point of view: you have interviewed them, "no news is news as well" etc.

I agree that having to transcribe those interviews is a bít of a pain, as it will not provide that much interesting stuff. Evenso, when you publish your research it will strengthen your argument and you do not have to find excuses for why certain people have been excluded.


Hi Redridinghood,

I agree with Rick, in that you should include the participants for the reasons outlined below, and also because of the fact that they had little or nothing to say on your chosen topic as significant in itself.

Good luck!