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Skype as a tool for qualitative research interviews

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journal contribution
posted on 29.04.2022, 14:42 authored by Valeria Lo Iacono, David BrownDavid Brown, Paul Symonds

 Internet based methods of communication are becoming increasingly important and influencing researchers’ options. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technologies (such as Skype and FaceTime) provide us with the ability to interview research participants using voice and video across the internet via a synchronous (real-time) connection. This paper highlights the advantages of using Skype to conduct qualitative interviews and weighs these advantages against any limitations and issues that using this tool may raise. This paper argues that Skype opens up new possibilities by allowing us to contact participants worldwide in a time efficient and financially affordable manner, thus increasing the variety of our samples. At the same time, the use of Skype affects the areas of rapport, non-verbal cues and ethics by creating limitations but also new opportunities. The observations in this paper stem from two different researches, carried out by the authors, on dance (as a form of trans/cultural heritage) and wayfinding (the experience of getting from A to B in various settings). These studies lent themselves to using Skype for qualitative interviews, because of the need to reach an international, varied and purposeful sample. The researchers’ experiences, combined with feedback from participants in Skype interviews, are used in this paper. The conclusion is that, although VoIP mediated interviews cannot completely replace face to face interaction, they work well as a viable alternative or complimentary data collection tool for qualitative researchers. This paper argues that VoIP based interviews offer new opportunities for researchers and should be embraced with confidence. 

History

Published in

Sociological Research Online

Publisher

Sage

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Citation

Lo Iacono, V., Symonds, P. & Brown, D.H.K. (2016) 'Skype as a tool for qualitative research interviews', Sociological Research Online 21(2), p.12

Electronic ISSN

1360-7804

Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences

Cardiff Met Authors

Valeria Lo Iacano David Brown

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Qualitative Research Methods and Social Theory

Copyright Holder

© The Publisher

Language

en