Colchester, United Kingdom

Online Qualitative Data Collection: Methods, Technology and Ethics

online course
when 22 July 2024 - 26 July 2024
language English
duration 1 week
credits 4 EC
fee GBP 492

Learn to use digital technologies for designing and collecting qualitative data online in social science methodology with ethical considerations.

Need to Know

Prior knowledge of qualitative methods is beneficial, but by no means a requirement.

Independent, pre-course work will begin two weeks prior to the course, including the following:
- Access to preparatory readings for each of the five topics
- Pre-recorded topic lectures prepared by the Instructor
- Online forum to encourage discussion between participants

In Depth - Key topics covered

1. Overview and introduction

You will start off by looking at digital technologies as a social science data collection tool and as a space for online social formations. You will be introduced to online qualitative research methods while looking into various temporal dimensions (synchronous, asynchronous), platform- or app-specific formats (text-based, audio, video-based). You will explore the pros and cons of online data collection in general.

2. Online focus groups

There will be discussions on the fundamentals of focus groups as a group-dynamic based method. You will learn how to design an online focus group, from selection and recruitment to participant numbers. You will tackle challenges in research design and moderation, and look at how to prepare question guidelines. There will be the opportunity to compare various online focus group formats (eg, text-based, video-based) and do a hands-on exercise: conducting online focus groups.

3. Online interviewing

You will learn about the fundamentals of qualitative interviewing, followed by how to design online interviews and prepare questions for them. You will tackle critical issues for successful online interviewing: absence of social-context cues, building rapport online, how to build and sustain interaction and how to address trust issues online. Various formats of online interviewing (text-based, video-based, one-on-one, and dyadic, informal, in-depth, expert) will be covered and you will take part in a hands-on exercise: conducting online qualitative interviews.

4. Virtual ethnography (online fieldwork)

There will be discussions on the fundamentals of fieldwork method. You will learn how to design a study with online fieldwork, discuss various online fields (venues), how to choose sites, temporal dimensions of online fieldwork and participant observation, documenting online, asking questions online, issues of covert / overt online fieldwork. There will be a hands-on exercise: conducting online fieldwork.

5. Flexible Online Mixed Methods: ‘FOMM’

You will explore Flexible Online Mixed Methods, a combination of online qualitative methods with web surveys, etc. You will review various technological platforms and engage in a critical discussion, tackling key ethical concepts in online research, such as privacy, anonymity, confidentiality, data security, withdrawal, debriefing, and informed consent.

How the course will work online

The course has two main stages, pre-course work followed by five days of three-hour live teaching sessions, on Zoom.

Independent, pre-course stage starting two weeks prior to the course start date
- Access to preparatory readings for each of the five topics.
- Pre-recorded topic lectures prepared by the Instructor.
- Online forum to encourage discussion between participants.

Five live days
- Short sessions for focused discussion about the pre-recorded lectures and preparatory readings.
- Presentation of participants’ own projects.
- Group consultations about how to make progress.
- Plenary ‘lessons learned’ sessions.

The instructor will also conduct live Q&A sessions and offer designated office hours for one-to-one consultations.

Course leader

Bojana Lobe is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, where she teaches various methods courses, including Social Science Data Collection and Digital Technologies.

Target group

Advanced students, researchers, and professional analysts.

Course aim

This course focuses on the use of digital technologies for qualitative data collection, from a conceptual and an applied perspective, including logistical, technical and ethical issues.

It provides hands-on training in online qualitative data collection methods, covering methodological and practical aspects of online focus groups, online interviewing, and virtual ethnography (online fieldwork).

By the end of this course, you will be able to:
- understand concepts and assumptions of social science methodology using digital technologies
- design research with online qualitative data collection
- collect qualitative data online
- address technological and ethical issues using digital technologies.

Credits info

4 EC
You can earn up to four credits for attending this course.
3 ECTS credits – Attend 100% of live sessions and engage fully with class activities.
4 ECTS credits – Attend 100% of live sessions, engage fully with class activities and complete a post-class assignment.

Fee info

GBP 492: ECPR member - check whether your institution is a member here:
GBP 985: ECPR non-member


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