A reliable interview protocol is the key to obtain good quality interview data. However, developing a valid interview protocol is not a simple task, especially for beginner-level researchers. Extensive understanding of the research topic is no guarantee to quality interview findings because many other factors may affect the interview process. In our study among injured workers in Malaysia, researchers face additional challenge of interviewing multi-ethnic and multi-cultural study population. Most of them are also from lower socioeconomic status and education level. The objective of this study is to refine the pre-constructed interview protocol to address these challenges for valid data collection. The protocol must be easily understood and cover all research objectives to gain insights of the worker’s return to work experience. This article demonstrated the use of the 4-step Interview Protocol Refinement (IPR) Framework on the interview questionnaire. The steps were (1) ensuring alignment between interview questions and research questions, (2) constructing an inquiry-based conversation, (3) receiving feedback on interview protocols and (4) pilot testing of the interview questions. The IPR framework is an effective tool for improving the interview protocol reliability and validity. The refinement processes corrected some shortcoming in the pre-refined questionnaires and the pilot testing ensured that the refined questions were understood by the respondent and able to obtain the intended answers based on the research objectives. Research quality can be further enhanced by applying additional strategies during the stages of research tools validation and data analysis.


Interview Protocol, Interview Question, Multi-racial Refinement, Protocol Validation

Author Bio(s)

May Luu Yeong is a candidate of Doctor of Public Health, National University of Malaysia. She holds a medical degree from National University of Malaysia and is also a registered Occupational Health Doctor with Department of Occupational Safety and Health Malaysia. Her interest is in prevention and rehabilitation of occupational disease and injuries. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: mayluu84@yahoo.co.uk.

Rosnah Ismail, Public Health Specialist, is a young Medical Lecturer of Occupational Health at Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine, National University of Malaysia. As Research Supervisor, her focus is on ways that supervisees appreciate themselves as lifelong public health researchers. She is part of a team developing ways to inspire future public health key players to explore various research methods to elucidate their diverse research questions. Her aim is to facilitate graduate researchers in producing prime research that embrace qualitative as well as quantitative research approach. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Rosnah Ismail at, drrose@ppukm.ukm.edu.my.

Noor Hassim Bin Ismail, trained as an Occupational Health Specialist, is currently a Professor in Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine, National University of Malaysia. He holds Fellowships in Occupational Health from Academy of Occupational and Environmental Medicine Malaysia and University of Okayama Japan. He is also Chairman and Foundation Board member of South East Asia One Health University network (SEAOHUN) that actively promotes One Health approach for future and current One Health Workforces in South East Asia countries. His interest is in occupational stress, risk factors of cardio-vascular diseases and noise induced hearing loss. He has collaborated with international epidemiological study to study the risk factors of Non Communicable diseases.

Mohd Isa Hamzah is currently a senior lecturer at Department of Education and Community Well-being, Faculty of Education, National University of Malaysia. His areas of expertise are Islamic Education, ICT in Education, Philosophy of Education and Moral, Values and Ethics in Education. He holds a PhD in Education from Warwick University United Kingdom. He teaches undergraduates and postgraduates courses in Islamic Education, Curriculum Change, Management of Educational Institution, Research Methodology in Education, Qualitative Research Method and Learner Diversity and Differentiated Teaching. His research areas are teaching and learning in schools and tertiary institutions, the use of ICT in schools, mobile learning application in classroom, values in curriculum. He used to be e-Learning coordinator in Faculty of Education and Head of Postgraduates Programme. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: isa_hamzah@ukm.edu.my.

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