Transnational online research: recognising multiple contexts in Skype-to-phone interviews

Melis Cin, F.; Madge, Clare; Long, Dianne; Breines, Markus and Dalu, Mwazvita Tapiwa Beatrice (2021). Transnational online research: recognising multiple contexts in Skype-to-phone interviews. Qualitative Research (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/14687941211024824

Abstract

This paper lies at the intersection of discussions surrounding digitally mediated research methods and transnational research projects. It contributes to the current methodological debate surrounding online interviewing by focusing on tensions and affordances involved in Skype-to-phone interviewing in a transnational research context. While the Skype-to-phone facility does indeed increase further access to global participants, complex power hierarchies and ethical concerns continue to exist in relation to technological access/infrastructure, research governance regimes in different places and interpersonal research relations. We, therefore, propose that online researchers involved in transnational research projects using Skype methods move towards consideration of multiple competing constituencies and diverse social and spatial connectivities and power hierarchies in which they are researching. These social differences and spatial registers are not swept away through research conducted in a uniform virtual digital environment; rather transnational researchers must make explicit the multiple place-based contexts of their digitally mediated research, as they shape the research process in distinct ways. Thus, specific consideration must be given to ethical concerns that emanate from transnational online research.

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