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Outside the field, inside the home: lessons learned from adapting qualitative research strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic

Christy Craig (Sociology Program, School of Criminal Justice, Leadership and Sociology, Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas, USA)
Emily Oertling (Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, California State University Sacramento, Sacramento, California, USA)
Twyla Hill (Department of Sociology, Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas, USA)
Cheyla Clawson (School of Performing Arts, Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas, USA)

Qualitative Research Journal

ISSN: 1443-9883

Article publication date: 8 April 2024




This collaborative paper presents three case studies on four scholars' experiences with remote data collection. The authors highlight the challenges and strengths of online qualitative research across three disparate projects: an interdisciplinary exploration of matrilineal heritage, an examination of Irish women's sexual identity and an investigation of dress practices among Tz'utujil-Maya.


Qualitative researchers traditionally go into the field to explore and understand social phenomena. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, while people faced the daily realities of a worldwide crisis from within their homes, remote data collection became a necessary strategy to pursue knowledge. As a result, researchers adapted to unknowns regarding recruiting, scheduling, technology, interviewing and analysis.


Participant and researcher experiences during the adaptation to remote interviewing yielded important lessons on research strategies.


Outcomes from these studies highlight the potential value of online data collection alongside the necessity for flexibility in designing and conducting qualitative research.



The authors express sincere appreciation to their participants for taking the time to engage our research projects while navigating the unknowns of a global pandemic. Hill and Clawson received funding for their project, WSU IRB#4746, from the WSU Regional Institute on Aging and the WSU Performing Arts Angels during 2020–2022. Craig received partial funding for her research project, FHSU IRB #1567610–3, from the Fort Hays State University Faculty Research Experience Grant during 2020–2022. Oertling received travel funding for her project, KSU IRB #1005, from the Kansas State University Graduate School's Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Small Grant Program.


Craig, C., Oertling, E., Hill, T. and Clawson, C. (2024), "Outside the field, inside the home: lessons learned from adapting qualitative research strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic", Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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