“This Is Another Personal Question”: Research interviews and discussing sensitive issues with men with life limiting conditions

Jepson M, Abbott DWF, Hastie J

International Journal of Men's Health 2015, 14, 3: 273—286

Available online 1 Sep 2015


Undertaking research interviews with men can be challenging, partly because of
the perceived threat to their masculinity. It has been assumed that these challenges
are amplified when discussion includes topics of a sensitive nature. Drawing on the
tools of Conversation Analysis, this article examines how the sensitive nature of
interview questions may be co-constructed and negotiated by interviewers and
interviewees alike. Data were drawn from a wider study exploring the social care
needs of men with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy—a life-limiting condition. Our
analysis pinpoints three patterns of talk delivered by interviewers where the
sensitivity of the topic is foregrounded, and illuminates the consequences of these
patterns of talk.