qualitative interviews via email


As I look over the transcripts from our qualitative data collection last year, it's increasingly clear to me that the clarity and depth of the answers we received from email surveys were significantly better than those we got through in-person interviewing.

This backs up what I found in my dissertation research, which is comforting.

I wonder if this is particularly the case for people in computer-oriented fields (my dissertation research was on students in doctoral programs in information science, which tends to be a very tech-savvy group), or if it holds true more broadly.

(Now back to actually doing work rather than blogging about it...)


I find that typing makes my thoughts more clear because I have easy access to revision. When speaking or handwriting the ease of revision isn't there, so I tend to be somewhat terse.

It probably holds for most people who have a basic understanding of editing text on a computer. People who don't have that understanding won't realize the ease of revision and will probably tend to be less deep than they otherwise might be.

I conducted interviews via instant messaging and found there too a greater depth of answers.

Liz, you and I experienced this with some of our IM sessions as our turn taking and thinking time were somewhat equalized, as were our extro/intro verted tendencies.

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