Qualitative Data Collection Technologies: A Comparison of Instant Messaging, Email, and Phone
Association for Computing Machinery
With the growing body of qualitative research on HCI and social computing, it is natural that researchers may choose to conduct that research in a mediated fashion - over telephone or computer networks. In this paper we compare three different qualitative data collection technologies: phone, instant message (IM), and email. We use quantitative analysis techniques to examine the differences between the methods specifically concerning word count and qualitative codes. We find that there are differences between the methods, and that each technology has affordances that impact the data. Although phone interviews contain four times as many words on average as email and IM, we were surprised to discover that there is no significant difference in number of unique qualitative codes expressed between phone and IM.