Online qualitative interviews: Opportunities and challenges for urban and planning studies

Kathleen J. Hanrahan, Mathew T. Smith, Judith E. Sturges

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Computer mediated communication is a part of everyday life for much of the population. People rely on email and instant messaging, post to chat rooms and blogs, and routinely use the Internet for a wide variety of functions. As a result, the options for qualitative study available to urban planners and researchers have expanded dramatically. This chapter examines the feasibility of online qualitative interviews. The chapter begins with an overview of the online options or venues (e.g., chat rooms, bulletin boards, social networking sites, email) currently available to the qualitative researcher. Next, issues of data quality in online interviews are discussed, and various online venues are compared to in person or face-to-face interview modes. Additionally, the authors discuss some of the central ethical and human subject protection issues involved in the online research landscape. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the potential for online qualitative interviews.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOnline Research Methods in Urban and Planning Studies
Subtitle of host publicationDesign and Outcomes
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9781466600744
StatePublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science


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