The Correspondence Method as a Data-gathering Technique in Qualitative Enquiry

  • Jennifer Harris University of York


The use of correspondence in qualitative research has traditionally been limited to a supporting role, with ‘live’ data taking the primary focus. In this article, the merits and demerits of using letter writing as a means of gathering data are discussed. The article also covers representation of the self in letters, researching or advising and ‘invisibility’ to one’s respondents, before exploring how this method ‘fits’ within the general principles and practices of qualitative research. As far as it can be established, this article forms the first attempt to explore the use of letter writing as a primary data collection strategy.