Conducting Intensive Interviews Using Email: A Serendipitous Comparative Opportunity

Judith L.M. Mccoyd, Toba Schwaber Kerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

157 Scopus citations


This article examines the use of computer-mediated recruitment and email intensive interviewing in contrast to more traditional methods of data collection. Email interviewing is compared to telephone and face-to-face interviewing with the same study population utilizing the same interview guide. This allows analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of each interview format to emerge. This serendipitous comparison opportunity arose from a study of the decision-making and bereavement process of women who terminated desired pregnancies after diagnosis of a fetal anomaly. History and analysis of ethical and methodological issues related to computerized communication for research purposes is included. Although more methodological analysis (Illingworth, 2001) must occur, results suggest that computer-mediated methods allow the research to include isolated, geographically dispersed and/or stigmatized groups who are often overlooked or ignored. This is important for social work researchers who need additional research methods to collect rich data about these difficultto-access groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-406
Number of pages18
JournalQualitative Social Work
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


  • computer-mediated communication and research
  • email intensive interviewing
  • qualitative research methodology
  • women's health


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