The Use of Videoconferencing as a Medium for the Qualitative Interview

Monique Sedgwick, Jude Spiers

Abstract


Qualitative data collection, especially conducting in-person interviews, presents challenges for researchers whose participants are geographically dispersed. Often alternative means of interviewing using communication technology are necessary. This was true for this focused ethnographic research exploring the experiences of participants who were connected to a particular cultural group by virtue of their similar experience but who were not located in the same geographical area. The purpose of this paper is to present the experience of using videoconferencing technology to collect experiential data from undergraduate nursing students and preceptors who were dispersed over a 640,000 square kilometer area in western and northern Canada during a rural hospital-based preceptorship. Recommendations for using videoconferencing as a medium for conducting in-depth qualitative interviews include using a high-bandwidth connection such as SuperNet or Web conferencing, and evaluating whether the type of information sought is likely to be shared in other than in-person face-to-face situations.

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