Qualitative research is adventurous and creative, and committed to understanding unique human experiences in specific cultural ecologies. Qualitative interviewing with Deaf participants is far more challenging for hearing researchers who do not understand sign language, and for this reason such interactions may require the use of a sign language interpreter to facilitate the interview process. However, the quality of sign language interpreter-mediated interactions is likely to be compromised due to omissions, oversights, misinterpretations or additions that may occur during translation. An unthoughtful and poor interpretation of a communicative event by a sign language interpreter during a qualitative interview with Deaf participants may lead to an imposition of the interpreter’s or the researcher’s realities on Deaf participants’ lived experiences. It is thus important that qualitative researchers who conduct sign language interpreter-mediated interviews with Deaf participants employ practical and flexible ways to enhance such interactions. To understand the everyday realities of Deaf people amid the Covid-19 pandemic in Ghana, and document same to inform policy and practice, we conducted qualitative interviews with Deaf participants in Ghana. In this article, we draw insights from our data collection experiences with Deaf participants in Ghana to offer some useful methodological reflections for minimizing omissions in sign language-mediated qualitative interviews and thereby enhancing qualitative data quality. We particularly discuss how qualitative researchers can use language flexibility and post-interview informal conversations with a sign language interpreter to create a natural non-formal interactional atmosphere that engenders natural conversational flow to minimize interpretation omissions and differential power relations in sign language interpreter-mediated qualitative interviews with Deaf participants.


Qualitative interview, Deaf participants, Interpreter mediated-communication, Sign language, language flexibility, Interpretation omissions, Ghana

Author Bio(s)

Stephen Baffour Adjei, Ph.D., is a Social/Cultural and Human Development Psychologist. He is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, Faculty of Education and Communication Sciences, Akenten Appiah-Menka University of Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Development, Kumasi, Ghana. He is also a research fellow at the Centre for Suicide and Violence Research (CSVR), Department of Psychology, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology (Hons.) with English from University of Ghana, Accra; and his Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees in Psychology from Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway and Aarhus University, Denmark, respectively. Dr. Adjei applies his research to understand the interactional complexities between culture, context, and psychological processes, with a particular emphasis on interpersonal violence, human development, and learning, agency and identity and indigenous African Psychology. He has taught, carried out research, and directed programmes at universities in Africa and overseas, including Ruhr University Bochum (RUB), Germany, University of Aarhus, Denmark, and Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway. He has published several scholarly articles some of which have appeared in such international peer-reviewed journals as Journal of Family Violence, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Psychological Studies, Psychology and Developing Societies, The Qualitative Report, Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, Theory & Psychology and Victims & Offenders. Please direct correspondence to stevoo24@yahoo.com.

Sarah Tara Sam is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. She has a research interest in disability and inclusive education policy at basic and higher levels of education, in which she is currently pursuing her PhD, and previously studied for her MPhil in Childhood Studies at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. She is a lecturer at the Education faculty of Christ Apostolic University College, Kumasi, and teaches courses in educational foundations and educating children with special needs. She has an avid interest in studying children and disabilities and has published and unpublished research on such in Norway, Ghana, and Zimbabwe. She recently co-authored a book chapter on methodological considerations published by Policy Press. Please direct correspondence to sarahtarasam@gmail.com.

Frank Owusu Sekyere is a lecturer at the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, Faculty of Education and Communication Sciences, Akenten Appiah- Menka University of Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Development, Kumasi, Ghana. Frank holds an MPhil degree in Special Needs Education from the University of Education, Winneba, Ghana. He currently teaches an undergraduate course in introduction to special needs education. His research interest is in general disability issues with special interest in hearing impairment and inclusivity. Please direct correspondence to franksekosek@yahoo.co.uk.

Philip Boateng is a lecturer at the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, Faculty of Education and Communication Sciences, Akenten Appiah-Menka University of Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Development, Kumasi, Ghana. He has an MPhil degree in Educational Leadership (Curriculum Development) and is currently pursuing a PhD in Curriculum and Supervision at the Centro Escolar University, Philippines. He has a research interest in teacher professional development, teacher efficacy, inclusive education and instructional leadership. As an early career teacher and researcher, Philip has published and co-authored a few scholarly articles, some of which have appeared in International Journal of Instruction, African Journal of Teacher Education and Children and Youth Services Review. Please direct correspondence to pboateng@uew.edu.gh.


The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.







To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.