Data Collection via In-Depth Email Interviewing: Lessons From the Field

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Abstract

This methods article is a reflection on the use of in-depth email interviewing in a qualitative descriptive study. The use of emailing to conduct interviews is thought to be an effective way to collect qualitative data. Building on current methodological literature in qualitative research regarding in-depth email interviewing, we move the conversation toward elicitation of quality data and management of multiple concurrent email interviews. Excerpts are shared from a field journal that was kept throughout one study, with commentary on developing insights. Valuable lessons learned include the importance of (a) logistics and timing related to the management of multiple concurrent email interviews, (b) language and eliciting the data, (c) constructing the email, and (d) processing text-based data and preparing transcripts. Qualitative researchers seeking deeply reflective answers and geographically diverse samples may wish to consider using in-depth email interviews.

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