Table 1

Interview topic guide
Interview topic Example questions
Introductions and warm up Can you start by telling me how you came to get help?
Do you have anyone who regularly helps you with (literacy)*?
How general health may be affected by literacy level How would you say your general health is?
Can you tell me about of any ways your (literacy) affects your health?
Self care: health information and preventive behaviour Where do you normally learn about things to do with health?
Do you attend or take part in screening?
- cervical (females only)
- breast (females over 50) bowel (all over 50)
Self care: management of health problems; medication; family health Do you or anyone you look after have a medical condition that needs to be treated or checked up on regularly?
How do you get on with prescriptions?
Do you have children? Tell me about what you have to do to look after their health–immunisation, childhood illnesses etc.
Access to health services: patient-healthcare provider relationships; navigating the health service environment Does your GP know that you have/have had some difficulties with (literacy)?
If yes, how did do they know?
Does your (literacy) affect whether you go to health services? If yes, how?
Do you have anyone who helps you when you use health services?
Types of initiatives that would help access to services/self-care etc. What would make it easier for you to …… take care of your condition/take your medicine properly? (these will depend on the responses to previous questions)
How could the ……….. service be improved for people with any literacy difficulties?
Additions to topic guide after initial analyses (questions added to ensure coverage of these emerging topics)
Life history How did you get on at school?
When were you aware you had needed some help with your literacy?
What sort of work have you done in the past?
Disclosure management Who knows about your literacy?
What did you say to them when you told them?
How would you decide who to tell?
Advantages/disadvantages of disclosure Do you think it matters if healthcare staff know about your literacy?

*The word ‘literacy’ was replaced in each case by the terms used by the individual in describing their need for literacy support.

Easton et al.

Easton et al. BMC Health Services Research 2013 13:319   doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-319

Open Data