Research behind a webcam: an exploration of virtual interviewing with children and young people
Evidence and practice    

Research behind a webcam: an exploration of virtual interviewing with children and young people

Elizabeth Bichard PhD candidate/nurse, Institute of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University, London, England
Stephen McKeever Lecturer in nursing, Department of Nursing, School of Health Sciences, University of Melbourne School of Nursing, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Jo Wray Health psychologist, senior research fellow, Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Trust: Great Ormond Street Hospital For Children NHS Foundation Trust, Centre for Outcomes and Experience Research in Children’s Health, Illness and Disability (ORCHID), London, England
Suzanne Bench Director of nurse led research, Chief Nurse Office, Guy’s and Saint Thomas’ Hospitals NHS Trust: Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To learn more about virtually interviewing children and young people

  • To understand the ethical implications of using virtual interviewing to collect data

  • To appreciate future directions and further research required to establish evidence-based research practices with children and young people

Background Societal use of digital technology rapidly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Face-to-face services converted to online provision where possible. This affected many nurse researchers.

Aim To explore conducting research interviews online with children and young people (CYP) about sensitive topics.

Discussion This article considers digital inclusion, as well as ethical issues surrounding safety, support and consent, along with choosing tools for collecting data. It also presents a discussion of physical proximity in qualitative interviews with this population and its role in data quality. The authors investigate benefits in the context of researchers’ personal experiences. They acknowledge the disadvantages of conducting interviews online and discuss ways to mitigate these.

Conclusion The advantages for researchers include cost-effectiveness, time-efficiency and greater geographical reach of participants. However, CYP’s perspectives are unknown and the specific ethical issues of using this method with CYP need careful consideration.

Implications for practice More research is needed to examine virtual interviews from the perspectives of CYP as participants. Virtual acquisition of consent and assent should be investigated to standardise good research practices.

Nurse Researcher. doi: 10.7748/nr.2022.e1857

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

Bichard E, McKeever S, Wray J et al (2022) Research behind a webcam: an exploration of virtual interviewing with children and young people. Nurse Researcher. doi: 10.7748/nr.2022.e1857

Published online: 05 December 2022

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