Finally home and with all my ‘research’ done. I am glad I used different approaches to the interviews as I have learned a lot from the process. Online synchronous typed interviews have to be my biggest surprise – they were incredibly effective. Not only are they already transcribed due to their very form, but I found some participants really opened up in this from of conversation. Sadly, there is no body language or tone – no real way to tell if they mean what they say. The same could be said for conversations however.
Online interviews certainly helped make it convenient for both the participants and myself so I wanted to expand on this a little. This is where Skype comes in. I did a couple of video interviews as part of this process to try an keep the advantages of online interviews but bring back in some tone, expression and body language. While I liked the approach, I felt I would rather do it face:face than across the internet with webcams. It did not feel as connected as a face:face interview, but there was more relation than with the instant messaging interview outlined above. One thing that did interest me however was that participants tended to be more open with me as an interviewer when there was no spoken or visual element. Perhaps instant messaging interviews are a good way forward for controversial or personal topics – Is it easier to be honest and vulnerable when you’re just typing? or is it the distance from the interview? the lack of relations?
As you can see – I have more questions than answers due to the small sample. It has however enlightened me to the fact that 1:1 interviews don’t need to be face:face. More importantly – I have seen them working over digital mediums and there are some excellent advantages to this kind of interview. I did of course undertaken face:face, 1:1 interviews and these formed the majority of my ‘research’. 🙂