In the wake of COVID-19, researchers are seeking innovative data-collection methods. Computer-mediated communication platforms have played a pivotal role among these pursuits. However, conducting online interviews present challenges to both researchers and participants. Online data-collection forces researchers to give up control over the study environment due to the varying location participants partake in interviews. Consequently, researchers can no longer fully guarantee the confidentiality and privacy of the researcher-participant conversations. Participants may face difficulties if being asked to disclose private information in the presence of family members. These challenges are heightened when conducting online interviews with adolescents on sensitive topics. Thus, attention to the rigour of qualitative research is a fundamental consideration given these limitations in technical and social conventions with the use of online data-collection methods. Despite the host of challenges, online interviewing creates valuable opportunities for researchers to rise to the challenge of social distancing in their data-collection efforts.


interviewing, online, sensitive topics, young people

Author Bio(s)

Salima Meherali (Corresponding Author) is an Assistant Professor at University of Alberta, Faculty of Nursing. She is an early career researcher and her research program comprises of three areas of inquiry –immigrant adolescent/youth in Canada, mental health and sexual and reproductive health and rights of immigrant youth in Canada and in the developing world, and Theorizing gender intersections within vulnerable populations. As a principal investigator, she has been involved in community based participatory action research projects to actively engage with adolescents/youth to evaluate their mental health and sexual and reproductive health needs in Canada and in global health context. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: meherali@ualberta.ca.

Samantha Louie-Poon is a Registered Nurse and Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Alberta. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree with the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta. Her research work is geared towards addressing the gap between child health knowledge translation practices and health equity. Specifically, she will be tackling racism in the healthcare sector by seeking impactful solutions that integrate anti-racism as a key commitment in the development and provision of knowledge translation.


This project was supported by The Kule Institute for Advanced Study (KIAS) [grant number: RES0047307]

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