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The online in-depth interviews represent a qualitative research methodology implemented by applying new technologies, in particular the internet and the various communication platforms that allow to make calls, video calls, video conferences, exchange messages and show materials through screen sharing.
It is a methodology that is replacing in many cases both in-depth personal interviews and individual telephone interviews because it offers different and not negligible advantages: as for telephone interviews, it is possible to reach the person to be interviewed in a very large geographically area in a convenient time for respondents, but, as in personal interviews, it is possible to show various images and materials that respondents will have to evaluate.
The methodology of individual online interviews is particularly useful when it comes to interviewing for example managers or professionals who are very busy for their work and who would have difficulty moving to reach a central location: in this way they can carry out the interview in complete tranquillity in a time of day that is convenient for them.
Being an in-depth interview, the online interview objective, as in the case of personal interviews, is to understand the perspective of the subjects studied, capturing their interpretations of reality and the reasons for their choices. Also in this case, the interview is conducted by a moderator who, although not physically present, through their questions, aims to understand respondents’ mental categories and tries to induce them to reflect critically on their choices.
The moderator, following a fairly flexible guide, asks questions and has the opportunity to show the respondents materials and stimuli of various kinds.
The technical support
By now, the platforms that allow to easily conduct personal online interviews are numerous and easy to use. The features are slightly different from one to the other: they allow conversations that can range from the classic one-to-one video call to connections with a considerable number of participants. Some require that all participants register before use, others require no registration and are open source. The interview can take place only with audio or with audio and video.
The fundamental functionality that makes these platforms very useful for individual interviews is the possibility of sharing the screen (the screen-sharing function) which allows the meeting to be interactive. Through this mode, it is possible to show documents, images, videos, slides and all those materials that are important in the discussion for an in-depth interview.
It is also possible to save the audio or archive the video to be able to listen and examine it at a later time.
The first step, as always, is an accurate recruitment. Subsequently, the times at which the moderator and the respondent must connect via videoconference on the chosen platform will be agreed. The duration of the online interview is 60-90 minutes, exactly like personal interviews, and the methods of conducting it are practically identical.
As always, once all the interviews are completed, the moderator will prepare a detailed report.