Use of Skype in interviews: the impact of the medium in a study of mental health nurses
Interviewing in qualitative research Previous     Next

Use of Skype in interviews: the impact of the medium in a study of mental health nurses

Jennifer Oates PhD student, School of Health Sciences, City University, London UK

Aim To discuss the use of Skype as a medium for undertaking semi-structured interviews.

Background Internet-based research is becoming increasingly popular, as communication using the internet takes a bigger role in our working and personal lives. Technology such as Skype allows research encounters with people across geographical divides. The semi-structured interview is a social encounter with a set of norms and expectations for both parties (Doody and Noonan 2012). Proceedings must take account of the social context of both semi-structured interviews per se, and that of internet mediated communication.

Data sources The findings of the qualitative phase of a mixed-methods study are compared with other reports comparing the use of Skype with face-to-face and telephone interviews.

Review methods This paper is a methodological discussion of the use of Skype as an online research methodology.

Discussion Choosing Skype as a means of interviewing may affect the characteristics of participants and decisions about consent. Rapport, sensitivity and collaboration may be addressed differently in Skype interviews compared with face-to-face interviews.

Conclusion Skype offers researchers the opportunity to reach a geographical spread of participants more safely, cheaply and quickly than face-to-face meetings. Rapport, sensitivity and degrees of collaboration can be achieved using this medium.

Implications for research/practice The use of Skype as a medium for semi-structured interview research is better understood. This paper contributes to the growing body of literature on the use of the internet as a medium for research by nurses.

Nurse Researcher. 22, 4, 13-17. doi: 10.7748/nr.22.4.13.e1318

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 21 April 2014

Accepted: 25 July 2014

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