Interviews by email

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    Craig Deed

    A research student of mine wants to conduct interviews by email. What is the current feeling on this – are there current views for or against? The interviews are with teachers – reasoning is that they have little time for phone or face-to-face interviews and could do a back-and-forth via email. Thoughts??

    Dave Collingridge

    I say fine as long as they state the limitations of email interviews in their write-up, and mention their reasons for using email interviews. 

    Muir Houston

    please see here:

    Tracking Transition: Issues in Asynchronous E-Mail Interviewing (Houston, 2008)


    There is quite a bit of literature on this if your student looks around. An alternative is Skype interviewing, which can be recorded and transcribed in traditional ways. I have just written a chapter on this for a book so have been reading a lot about internet based qualitative methods


    Best wishes



    you need to have a justification for it. The usual justification is the distance, but you might also say that the interviewees don’t have time and they would be reluctant to do face to face interviews. Lockman Meho has a paper on email interview as a method in JASIST journal. He used it for his phd research.

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