The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to reflect on the value of e-mails for recruiting and interviewing in a specific context in qualitative research, and second, to reflect on the benefits of the reflexive practice in sharing the research experience for gaining a deeper understanding of the field. The purpose is to raise points for consideration in research design for the e-mail method in this type of study.
The paper draws on reflexivity and integrates fieldwork experiences to present the shared reflections and insights into the enabling and constraining aspects of using e-mail interviews with hard-to-access participants such as senior executives of international businesses.
Closer consideration needs to be given to the use of e-mail interviewing in the research design for such studies, especially regarding culturally held preconceptions about the research environment and how the inevitable challenges in engaging in cross-border research may be resolved.
The paper yields unanticipated insights into the potential of e-mail interviewing for studies that require responses from key informants who are otherwise unlikely to participate in the research. The paper brings greater transparency to researchers regarding the realities of using the method in this context, and thus, it expands the hitherto small repertoire of such studies in qualitative international business research. The contribution also lies in the value of deliberately creating a space for reflexive conversations that open the possibility of more profound understandings in qualitative research.
The authors offer special thanks to the Editor, Terrance Weatherbee and the anonymous reviewers, for their helpful comments and the generosity of their time in helping us with developing and strengthening the paper.
Ingley, C., Singh, S. and Malkani, A. (2020), "Teasing out fieldwork challenges with e-mail methods in cross-border research", Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/QROM-02-2017-1490Download as .RIS
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