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Credibility, Authenticity and Voice: Dilemmas in Online Interviewing

posted on 05.03.2015, 15:56 by Nalita James, Hugh Busher
This paper explores the methodological issues encountered when using email as a web-based interview in on-line qualitative research. By drawing on two separate research studies that used this method to explore participants’ understandings of their professional experiences and developing professional identities, the researchers consider the methodological implications in using this approach. These include issues affecting the credibility and trustworthiness of the research design of the studies and issues around the authenticity of participants’ voices and how that was affected by power and control in the interview process. Despite these dilemmas, the paper recognises the contribution that web-based approaches can make to research by allowing researchers to hold asynchronous conversations with participants, especially when they are distant from the researcher, and to generating reflective, descriptive data. It leads us to conclude that it is worth refining our methodological framework to strengthen the trustworthiness and credibility of future research studies that use email.



Busher, HC;James, N, Credibility, Authenticity and Voice: Dilemmas in Online Interviewing,, ed. Hine, C, 'Virtual Research Methods', Sage Publications Ltd, 2012

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCE/School of Education


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in



Sage Publications Ltd



Publisher version


James, N and Busher, H (2006) Credibility, authenticity and voice: dilemmas in online interviewing Qualitative Research 6 (3) 403-420


Hine, C