Online qualitative research in immigrant communities: opportunities and challenges during the pandemic

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Date

2020

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The Ohio State University Libraries in partnership with the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences

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Abstract

Internet-based qualitative methods have quickly transitioned from a niche to mass research strategy. The aim of the article is to describe the opportunities and challenges of online research, with a focus on in-depth interviews through video communication tools such as Zoom, Skype and Face Time. The analysis encompasses various dimensions of internet-based research: recruitment, conducting empirical study, analysis, and archiving. Online qualitative methods may be particularly useful in studying immigrant populations, due to a high level of internet skills among immigrants and their familiarity with online video communication resulting from their everyday transnational activities. Online research may translate into the increased visibility of low-cost projects, and broaden the academic autonomy of junior researchers, thus enhancing the diversification of empirical, theoretical, and methodological approaches. Conducting online interviews also improves the quality of archived material, due to the access to both sound and visual recording. The text emphasizes the advantages of the hybrid approach to qualitative research through combining online and offline interviews, and online and offline participant observation. The author refers to experiences of data collection for a study of Polish migrant entrepreneurs in the UK.

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Keywords

internet-based interviews, online interviews, Zoom and Skype interviews, internet-based qualitative research, digitalization of qualitative research

Citation

Ask: Research and Methods. Volume 29, Issue 1 (2020), pp. 55-73