In this article I explore how mobile phones may facilitate greater access to participants and higher participation rates in qualitative inquiry in Africa. Qualitative researchers face a number of ethical and procedural challenges when collecting data in the field. But with the explosion of mobile phone usage, many of these obstacles to data collection may be ameliorated, facilitating greater access to participants, to data, and to important findings. I use the example of a research study on the connection between development and higher education at two public universities in Kenya to illustrate how mobile phones played an unexpected role in data collection. Finally, I discuss preliminary recommendations for using the mobile phone to contend with the myriad challenges to rigorous qualitative research in Africa.


Mobile Technology, Qualitative Research, Africa


This research was supported in part by a grant from the Don G. Creamer Excellence in Research Fund award.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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