• cultural diversity;
  • interviews;
  • language barriers;
  • older people;
  • qualitative research;
  • systematic review

fryer c., mackintosh s., stanley m. & crichton j. (2012) Qualitative studies using in-depth interviews with older people from multiple language groups: methodological systematic review. Journal of Advanced Nursing68(1), 22–35.


Aim.  This paper is a report of a methodological review of language appropriate practice in qualitative research, when language groups were not determined prior to participant recruitment.

Background.  When older people from multiple language groups participate in research using in-depth interviews, additional challenges are posed for the trustworthiness of findings. This raises the question of how such challenges are addressed.

Data sources.  The Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Scopus, Embase, Web of Science, Ageline, PsycINFO, Sociological abstracts, Google Scholar and Allied and Complementary Medicine databases were systematically searched for the period 1840 to September 2009. The combined search terms of ‘ethnic’, ‘cultural’, ‘aged’, ‘health’ and ‘qualitative’ were used.

Review methods.  In this methodological review, studies were independently appraised by two authors using a quality appraisal tool developed for the review, based on a protocol from the McMaster University Occupational Therapy Evidence-Based Practice Research Group.

Results.  Nine studies were included. Consideration of language diversity within research process was poor for all studies. The role of language assistants was largely absent from study methods. Only one study reported using participants’ preferred languages for informed consent.

Conclusion.  More examples are needed of how to conduct rigorous in-depth interviews with older people from multiple language groups, when languages are not determined before recruitment. This will require both researchers and funding bodies to recognize the importance to contemporary healthcare of including linguistically diverse people in participant samples.