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Using Email and Skype Interviews With Marginalized Participants

By: Published: 2017 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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A growing trend in adopting communication technology in qualitative research is driving more Internet-based interviews, including asynchronous (for instance, via email) and synchronous (e.g., through Skype) interviews. My project, which examines the mental health of sexual minorities in various countries, illustrates how to use these two methods for data collection, resulting in benefits such as the removal of geographical barriers and time constraints, and cost-effectiveness. Equally important, these digital means empower participants to share their lived experiences in their own way, regarding time, space, and response fashion, especially for sensitive research topics or with vulnerable informants. However, limits to accessibility and technical problems challenge research progress when using these measures while at the same time requiring demanding and versatile qualities in researchers that include flexibility and interpersonal skills. Researchers are recommended to pay more attention to advance preparation for digital interviews and to personal development to equip themselves with sophisticated techniques.

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