Community-based Interviewing

What is Community-based Interviewing?

Community-based interviewing involves applying social science research training to field-based data collection with program staff and participants. Community-based interviewing includes data collection methodology, participant recruitment, tracking and retention.

NPC’s Approach to Community-based Interviewing

Every NPC Research project strives for 100% recruitment and 100% retention of interview participants. To those ends interviews are scheduled at a time and location that is convenient for the participant. At NPC, we use a comprehensive locating and tracking strategy that has been proven and tested to result in recruitment and retention rates of over 80%. Overall, the goal of this strategy is to ensure that interviewers know where study participants are located throughout the study period. It is not uncommon in applied research to see recruitment and retention rates in the 30-40% range. Thus, often evaluation and research study validity is called into question because of such low recruitment and retention. Most NPC projects average 80%, and several reach over 90% recruitment and over 90% retention. NPC Research makes every effort to respect the busy lives of its research and evaluation participants. The validity of any study depends on minimizing attrition; people who agree to participate in follow-up interviews may be different from those who miss interviews, and therefore it is important to ensure that as many people as possible complete the follow-up interviews. NPC Research has perfected a strategy for obtaining and maintaining study participation. Although maintaining contact with participants over time can be a challenge, particularly for people who are highly mobile or who are facing multiple life challenges, we maintain a philosophical commitment to follow every participant. Therefore, tracking strategies must be action-oriented, focused, and creative; research indicates that it is not one particular tracking method that works best, but the combination of strategies within a comprehensive tracking protocol that yields the highest recruitment and retention rates.

NPC Research has employed their community-based interview strategy with participants that are traditionally hard to reach such as those involved with the criminal justice system, alcohol and drug treatment system, mental health system, juvenile justice system, child welfare, and homelessness prevention programs. NPC Research staff has also assisted social service agencies in implementing this strategy, thereby increasing their ability to track their clients.

For more information about NPC’s services related to Community-based Interviewing, contact the Office Manager at (503) 243-2436 x 113, or