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.