As Internet usage has increased, web-based technologies such as Skype and Face Time have become more common alternatives for qualitative interviewing, especially for research participants who are geographically distant from the researchers. Challenges to the use of these tools have been identified, but as technology is currently changing at a rapid pace, more recent research is needed to provide up-to-date information on the feasibility of web and video conferencing technologies for qualitative interviewing. This paper reflects on the experience of using Skype for qualitative research interviews (n=14) in a study of pregnancy and parenting in doctoral programs, including feedback from research participants who chose to complete the qualitative interview via Skype instead of telephone or face-to-face interviews. Twelve participants who completed Skype interviews provided feedback on their experiences using Skype for qualitative interviews. Feedback from participants highlight an overall positive perception of Skype interviews due to the availability of visual cues from researchers and flexibility, but participants also shared challenges in terms of technology issues and participants’ lack of expertise with the technology. Recommendations include the use of videoconferencing and digital technologies as an additional or alternative interview tool for qualitative interviews, especially for participants who have logistical challenges meeting researchers face-to-face.


Skype, Online Interviews, Qualitative Interview Methods, Internet Technology, Phenomenology

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Rebecca Mirick, PhD, LICSW is an Assistant Professor at Salem State University in Salem, MA. Her clinical social work experience is in outpatient mental health with children, adolescents, and families. Since 2006, Dr. Mirick has worked in the field of suicide prevention, training gatekeepers and clinicians, evaluating programs and trainings, and exploring effective, current best practices. Her research and teaching focuses on suicide prevention, client engagement with involuntary clients, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: rmirick@salemstate.edu.

Dr. Stephanie Wladkowski, PhD, LMSW, is an Associate Professor at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, MI. Dr. Wladkowski has several years of clinical practice as a social worker in hospice and palliative care, which directly informs her research and teaching in health, aging, interprofessional education, and end-of-life care. Dr. Wladkowski’s current research focuses on live discharge from hospice, centering on psychosocial factors relevant to this care transition for patients and their caregivers. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: swladkow@emich.edu.

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