While the use of the telephone has increased as a means of collecting research data in a range of areas, there are few examples of studies where telephone interviews have been conducted to collect qualitative data. The field of educational research is no exception to this. This paper focuses on a study carried out in Higher Education (HE) investigating student withdrawal. It explores the ethics of interviewing by telephone a group of former students; issues that arose in the carrying out of the research, particularly relating to the quality of the data; and the impact of the study’s purpose on its conduct. The paper discusses the value of telephone interviewing to collect qualitative data and offers some practical suggestions for future use.