Researching From a Distance: Using Live Web Conferencing to Mediate Data Collection

David Matthew Glassmeyer, Rebecca-Anne Dibbs


Advances in technology have transformed the way people learn, work, and conduct research. An increase in online university courses offers geographically separated learners a chance to work together using live videoconferencing software. Researchers, however, have little guidance on how to collect qualitative interview data in these virtual environments. This article examines how researchers used live videoconferencing software to conduct interviews with participants separated geographically in a graduate education course. The authors point out the ethical and practical challenges that arose from using this method of data collection and offer advice on overcoming these obstacles. The authors conclude live videoconferencing software has the potential to be a viable data collection tool for researchers after considering the practical and ethical concerns associated with this method.

Keywords: distance learning, Elluminate Live!, interviews, live data collection, online learning, technology, videoconference

Authors’ Note: This research was partially supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DUE0832026. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Full Text: