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Use of Skype in interviews: the impact of the medium in a study of mental health nurses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-17
Number of pages5
JournalNurse researcher
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015

King's Authors


Aim To discuss the use of Skype as a medium for undertaking semi-structured interviews. Background Internet-based research is becoming increasingly popular, as communication using the internet takes a bigger role in our working and personal lives. Technology such as Skype allows research encounters with people across geographical divides. The semi-structured interview is a social encounter with a set of norms and expectations for both parties (Doody and Noonan 2012). Proceedings must take account of the social context of both semi-structured interviews per se, and that of internet mediated communication. Data sources The findings of the qualitative phase of a mixed-methods study are compared with other reports comparing the use of Skype with face-to-face and telephone interviews. Review methods This paper is a methodological discussion of the use of Skype as an online research methodology. Discussion Choosing Skype as a means of interviewing may affect the characteristics of participants and decisions about consent. Rapport, sensitivity and collaboration may be addressed differently in Skype interviews compared with face-to-face interviews. Conclusion Skype offers researchers the opportunity to reach a geographical spread of participants more safely, cheaply and quickly than face-to-face meetings. Rapport, sensitivity and degrees of collaboration can be achieved using this medium. Implications for research/practice The use of Skype as a medium for semi-structured interview research is better understood. This paper contributes to the growing body of literature on the use of the internet as a medium for research by nurses.

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