Is collecting participant support preferences in interviews with vulnerable people helpful?

For studies where we conduct interviews with potentially vulnerable people we make sure to ask them beforehand what sort of support they might like before, during and after the interview. This has been well received by research ethics committees, because it provides a clear process for checking how people want support as part of the research  consent process.

We have used similar questions across a range of research projects to understand how we can best support people. This is usually done over the telephone by one of the research team.

Whilst we believe it is helpful to have people’s individual preferences for support recorded, it can also be confusing for people and off putting because they do not want to talk about these things with a person they have not met.

We decided to take an audit across three separate projects to see how participants responded to our questions about thier preferences for support, which is presented in the infographic below (and here is a link if you’d like to share it)

We would love for you to tell us what you think – do you think that asking participants for their support preferences is helpful?  Do you have any concerns about this process? Let us know what your thoughts are.