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Negotiating with technology: advancing the virtual in qualitative research methods

Mahuya Kanjilal (Department of Social Work and Social Care, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK)
Jennifer Davis (Department of Social Work and Social Care, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK)
Elaine Arnull (Department of Social Work and Social Care, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK)

Qualitative Research Journal

ISSN: 1443-9883

Article publication date: 9 April 2024

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to describe key elements that are critical to virtual qualitative research especially while working with practitioners as participants.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper takes a reflexive researcher approach using a case study to explore how researchers adopted a qualitative research approach using digital technology. We use five principles suggested by Boland et al. (2022) as a framework to consider and reflect on our experiences as researchers and those of our participants.

Findings

We highlight the gatekeeper’s support, trusted relationship with the organisations, interpersonal skills of interviewers, stringent measures of securing data and shared experiences of interviewee and interviewers helped complete virtual research. We recommend that four key factors such as digital competency, feasibility, flexibility and resilience should be considered while undertaking or commissioning virtual, qualitative research studies.

Originality/value

Social care practitioners and qualitative researchers increasingly negotiate with digital technologies to undertake their work. In this paper, we evidence how online qualitative approaches can be effective provided challenges are dealt with diligently in each stage of the research process.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Susie Hawkes for contributing to the data collection phase. We would also like to thank Living Without Abuse for their support in this study.

Citation

Kanjilal, M., Davis, J. and Arnull, E. (2024), "Negotiating with technology: advancing the virtual in qualitative research methods", Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/QRJ-12-2023-0187

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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