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Showing posts from April, 2011

Online interviews 4: Temporality and turn taking

In this final installation of the mini series of blog posts on performing qualitative research interviews online, the issue of temporality is emphasized.

A basic distinction can be made between synchronous and asynchronous interviews. Synchronous interviews, typically in variations of an online chat format, seem to have advantages over asynchronous email interviews. First, chat allows for more spontaneity, minimizing socially desirable answers. Second, the interviewer can show attention more easily by sending encouraging comments. Thirdly, chat makes it easier to guide or adapt to respondent behaviour by rephrasing questions along the way.

These advantages all highlight potential threats to the validity of asynchronous email interviews. This  format makes it very hard to simulate face-to-face interaction and the trusting relationship that is needed in a qualitative interview. Furthermore, Walther (1996:33) makes it easier for the interviewee to present herself from carefully …