Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Reimagining the interview: Adapting qualitative methods to the digital realm - Dr. Mary Chayko, ESS 2016


Published on

Slides for my presentation at the Digital Sociology mini-conference at the annual meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, March 17, 2016 in Boston, MA

Published in: Technology
  • Interesting! See my books about online interviews ( and Qualitative Online Interviews YouTube channel ( and discuss in upcoming webinars (
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • Be the first to like this

Reimagining the interview: Adapting qualitative methods to the digital realm - Dr. Mary Chayko, ESS 2016

  1. 1. Reimagining the Interview: Adapting Qualitative Methods to the Digital Realm Mary Chayko, Ph. D. School of Communication & Information Rutgers University Twitter: @MaryChayko
  2. 2. My research  Three books on digital social connectedness – Connecting: How We Form Social Bonds and Communities in the Internet Age and Portable Communities: The Social Dynamics of Online and Mobile Connectedness (both, SUNY Press), Superconnected: The Internet, Digital Media, and Techno-Social Life (Sage Publications, March 2016)  Research questions and methodology for Connecting: How are relationships at a distance formed and maintained? By which mechanisms and with what effects? Conducted 50 face-to-face interviews and 143 online surveys  Research questions and methodology for Portable Communities: How does technological portability and mobility influence the nature of the social connections and groupings that are formed and maintained online? What are the social dynamics of these groupings? Conducted 87 open-ended, ongoing, electronic interviews  All my methods are qualitative, illustrative of social forms but not generalizable to a population @MaryChayko
  3. 3. Methodology  Drew “snowball” strategic informant sample of 87 interviewees (individuals who enjoyed used portable, mobile technology and might be inclined to discuss via email)  Explained process and obtained informed consent via email  Conducted email interviews over period of two years  Maximum confidentiality ensured by assigning interviews numbers and using pseudonyms for individuals and groups in all analyses  With student assistant, coded completed interviews for presence and absence of salient criteria: e.g. emotion, intimacy, fun, playfulness, sociability, practicality  Excerpts from interviews that best illustrate emergent themes were selected for inclusion in book @MaryChayko
  4. 4. The electronic interviews  Sent six multi-part, open-ended initial questions exploring the experience of online, digital technology use  Requested demographic info: gender, race, age, occupation  Sent follow-up questions over period of two years; added more as new topics emerged (i.e. boredom; hanging out online; micro-coordination of activities; migration of relationships from online to offline; use of blogs and social media for community and self-expression)  No script; interviews were semi-structured and each proceeded in their own way  Most lengthy, multipage, would correspond to several hours of a face-to-face interview, highly personal @MaryChayko
  5. 5. Advantages/Strengths  Reduced time and cost  Convenience; automatic transcription  Reduced importance of geographic location and time synchronization/scheduling issues  Possibility of sampling diversity  Large amounts of data can be accumulated quickly  Allowance for thorough and reflective follow-ups  Limited danger or discomfort to subject and researcher  Ability to continue over time until interview reaches natural conclusion @MaryChayko
  6. 6. Disadvantages/Limitations  Difficulty in validating respondents’ identities  Lack of in-person cues can hinder transmission of understandings  Less spontaneous and flows differently than the face-to-face interviews with which all may be more familiar  Privacy/confidentiality of digital data  Difficulty of some to share easily digitally or via text  May dissuade those who may prefer face-to-face means of interviewing and are suspicious of the digital @MaryChayko
  7. 7. Key take-aways  Ease and convenience made the experience speedy, efficient, thought-provoking, fun  Wealth of usable data procured  Provided rich, memorable illustration for theories and ideas  Prompted new research directions and findings  Provided interviewees with validation for their experiences  Complements the quantitative approach so often taken in digital (and other sociological) inquiry Thank You! . . @MaryChayko