Creating and enriching interviews in qualitative online research

2015-03-05T16:28:10Z (GMT) by Nalita James Hugh Busher
One of the exciting possibilities of qualitative online research is the construction of asynchronous interviews. By drawing on two research studies that used email for this, this paper explores how such interviews become enriched as participants actively and iteratively engage in their narrative constructions as the interview develops and unfolds, creating a reflexive interview These reflexive interviews are distinguished from focus or guided types of interviews that ask participants to comment on events in their social world. The paper explores how the processes of email interviewing can facilitate this ‘enrichment’ by researchers constructing an online site where through the displacement of time and space, collaboration and empowerment, and identity and agency, participants (are encouraged to) take increasing control of the research agenda in their narrative construction. Through this discussion, the paper argues that the modification of the research relationship helps participants to develop narrative texts that are shaped more closely to their perspectives, and the meanings they construct for their lives. This leads to stronger claims for reflexivity than had the researchers remained wholly in control. The paper concludes that the asynchronous quality of email interviews seems to offer an important element in facilitating the construction of more collaborative approaches to research by making space for participants to reflect in their own time and not merely to the researcher’s agenda. This diminishes the impact of the asymmetrical power relationships between participant and researcher that so often pervade qualitative research interviews.

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