There is an increasing need for cross-cultural qualitative studies in an era of globalization. A focus group of five researchers, who were involved in a large international research project, identified effective strategies and challenges associated with five key domains of qualitative research with key informants: identification, recruitment, preparation, conducting the interview, and follow-up. Content analysis revealed nuanced tactics related to effective strategies and challenges associated with each domain. Examples of effective strategies include interview preparation to understand the specific expertise of the interviewee and allowing the informant to offer additional information beyond the questions asked. Challenges included technical difficulties with virtual platforms and scheduling interviews in multiple time zones. These findings provide practical guidelines for researchers conducting virtual interviews with international key informants.


key informant interviews, adult learning, programs and policies

Author Bio(s)

Nytasia M. Hicks, Ph.D., MSW is a post-doctoral research scientist in the Geriatric, Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC) at the San Antonio Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital. Dr. Hicks is also an Advanced Geriatric Fellow at the Elizabeth Dole Center of Excellence for Veteran and Caregiver Research. Her primary research areas include caregiving, Veterans, minority aging, implementation science in long-term care delivery, and social science qualitative methods.

Roberto J. Millar, Ph.D. is a Policy Analyst at the Hilltop Institute, located at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. There, he provides policy and analytical support related to the use of long-term services and supports by Maryland's Medicaid beneficiaries.

Laura M. Girling, Ph.D., M.S., is an Assistant Research Scientist in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Public Health at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County as well as Affiliate Faculty in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine. Her research interests include neurocognitive disorders and advanced qualitative assessment.

Phyllis A. Cummins, Ph.D., (Corresponding author) is a Senior Research Scholar at Scripps Gerontology Center, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. Her research foci include education and training for older workers, the role community colleges play in education and training for adults, skill development over the life course, and economic security in retirement. Please direct correspondence to cumminpa@miamioh.edu.

Takashi Yamashita, Ph.D., MPH is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Public Health, and the Gerontology Ph.D. Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. His research interests include wider benefits of education and lifelong learning, health literacy, applied social science quantitative methods, and gerontology education.


The authors report that there is no conflict of interest.

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