Learning about Online Interviews from Cases

Categories: Data Collection, Online Research, Other, Qualitative, Research, Research Design, Research Ethics, Research Skills, Tools and Resources

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In June we are focusing on a range of qualitative and quantitative methods for collecting data online. Find the whole series through this link.

Cases in Online Interview Research
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Have you heard the saying: “everything old is new again”? Some of the technology-oriented writings of years past are amusing, even nostalgic, because some aspects of the digital life have changed drastically. However, other writings seem newly relevant as we adjust to a new era of remote work, learning, and research, in the pandemic era. I suggest that one of my earlier books, Cases in Online Interview Research, fits this description. While it was published in 2012, I think you will find some useful ideas and exemplars. There is also a

Happily, this entire book is available through the SAGE Research Methods Database. You can download each chapter as a PDF file. If your library subscribes to this service, simply click this link to access this book and other online research writings.  (If you do not have access, explore SAGE Research Methods with a free trial.) Also note that two chapters are available open-access on the book site.

Practical Cases Explain the Ups and Downs of Online Interview Research


I structured this multidisciplinary book a little differently from the typical collection. In Chapter 1 | Designing and Conducting Research with Online Interviews I introduced a holistic research framework. I used this framework as the basis for the case templates. I asked each researcher to answer the same set of questions about their designs, and I asked them to be candid about problems they encountered.

A Conversation between Researchers

Each case has 3 parts: the case itself, an analysis by me through the lens of the framework, and a response commentary from another contributor. I asked the contributors to share the kinds of constructive thoughts they might discuss on a panel, or over coffee at a conference. In other words, not a critical “peer review.” I hoped that these commentaries could add not only another perspective, but also a place to start conversations between readers. The final chapter of the book is a metasynthesis, offering more food for thought as you compare and contrast approaches this group of forward-thinking researchers discussed.

Different Approaches with Different Online Tools

The first section includes two cases about research using social media and blogging tools. The second section includes 4 chapters about research in virtual worlds such as Second Life. At the time of publication, Second Life was popular with educators and researchers. While Second Life is no longer a commonly used platform, if you are considering interviews in gaming environments or other places where you interact through avatars, these chapters might be of interest. Part III: Hybrid on- and Offline Interviews: Videoconference, Text, Meeting Tools, E-Mail, and Face-to-Face Interviews offers chapters that used a combination of approaches. These are quite relevant for today’s researchers.

Learn more about SRM

See A Primer on Getting the Most out of SAGE Research Methods. Learn about other specialized features to help researchers, including  Methods MapsReading Lists and navigation tools that invite you to explore within your discipline or across disciplines. To find additional dissertation and thesis guides and materials on SAGE Research Methods, see this Reading List. 

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