A Qualitative Interview With Young Children: What Encourages or Inhibits Young Children’s Participation?

Yael Ponizovsky-Bergelson*, Yael Dayan, Nira Wahle, Dorit Roer-Strier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The goal of every qualitative interview is to produce rich data. Inducing storytelling is a challenge in every interview. Interviews with young children (ages 3–6) present an additional challenge because of perceived power differences between children and adults. This research examines how interviewers’ questions and expressions encourage or inhibit children from telling their stories. We extracted 1,339 child interviewee–adult interviewer turn exchanges from a national study on children’s perspectives on risk and protection (N = 420) and analyzed them in two steps. First, we categorized the interviewers’ questions and expressions and children’s responses. Seven categories were found for interviewer expressions and five for children’s responses. We then examined the relationship between interviewer categories and children’s responses. The categories that produced the richest data were encouragement, open-ended questions, and question request. Sequence of utterances and closed-ended questions produced the least storytelling. We did not find significant differences based on a child’s gender with regard to the interviewer categories. The results and implications for researching young children are addressed.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalThe International Journal of Qualitative Methods
StatePublished - 13 Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • child-friendly methods
  • children’s perspectives’
  • power relations
  • qualitative interview
  • rich data


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