The rise in use and changing nature of the Internet has led to an increase in the number of people using discussion forums and social networking sites for the purpose of online social interaction, sharing experiences, and learning. Whilst researchers have begun to capitalize on the increasing pool of online participants for research online, very few studies have examined the benefits of online participant recruitment for offline data collection. Through the format of a ‘back stage’ essay, this paper follows the research process of participant recruitment using a social networking site to arrange offline interviews with local rail users in Mumbai and Chennai, India. This paper contributes to the literature about the methodological issues associated with ensuring authenticity of online-recruited research participants. It also builds on the existing literature about incorporating researcher safety into the method.


Researcher Safety, Rail Passengers, Online Recruitment, Trust, Authenticity, India, Interviews


This work was supported by the CRC for Rail Innovation (established and supported under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres program). The project was [r2.104].

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.




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