Interviews in the Congo
The following is a sample Paper 3 that looks at unstructured interviews. Below you will first find the stimulus piece, followed by the static questions. A copy of the mock paper is included to give students as an in-class assessment.
Potential answers are included in the hidden boxes below.
Africa is the site of many refugee camps where people displaced by war are taken care of by non-governmental agencies such as the Red Cross, UNICEF or the UNHRC. These agencies are often responsible for providing programs and services to improve refugees’ quality of life and health in these temporary camps. Pavlish (2007) carried out a study of Congolese refugees living in displaced persons’ camps in Rwanda. The research used unstructured interviews to examine the life experiences as told by male and female Congolese refugees residing in a refugee camp in Rwanda.
Two Congolese community health workers were asked by the researchers to select potential participants from various categories, such as frequent visitors to the health clinic, marginalized groups in the camp or families with children.
During the first interview, the researcher asked participants to describe memories and anecdotes about significant events and people in participants’ past and present lives, as well as stories about their ordinary days. The participants were allowed to tell their stories and anecdotes; the researcher would ask for clarification when it was needed to assist with understanding. The researcher might also ask for more detail.
The second interview was conducted within three days of the first interview. During the second interview, the researcher first reviewed the topics participants described during their initial interview. The researcher then asked the participant for additional information and anecdotes about those topics.
The interviews were transcribed and a systematic content analysis was conducted. The interviews were separated by gender.
The researcher found that women’s experiences showed themes of leaving the good life behind, worrying about their daughters, feeling ambivalent about marriage and lacking hope. Men’s experiences revealed themes of leaving the good life behind, having no peace in the heart and fearing the future. Listening to refugee voices provides an opportunity for organizations to create services that pertain closely to refugees’ life experiences.
1a. Identify the method used and outline two characteristics of the method.
1b. Describe the sampling method used in the study.
1c. Suggest an alternative or additional research method giving one reason for your choice.
2. Describe the ethical considerations that were applied in the study and explain if further ethical considerations could be applied.
3. To what extent could you generalize the findings of this study?