My research project uses a sequential mixed-methods design. This is research jargon meaning that the project has two stages that collect different types of data: the first involves gathering qualitative data using audio or email interviews, and the second will involve a web-based questionnaire to collect quantitative data that will let me test (and revise) a model of factors that affect people’s satisfaction. This is a standard approach to conducting research, and the only part that’s slightly unusual is the use of email interviews, and even that is becoming more common.
I’m currently in the middle of the first stage. I’m using a purposive sample, which means that I’ve approached a small number of people involved in a range of activities from different projects. The idea is that I’ll get different perspectives and will be able to identify significant similarities and/or differences in the responses, and start thinking about the reasons for these. I’ll then use the results to fine-tune my draft questionnaire.
In the last few weeks, I’ve done a couple of interviews in person, and have sent out a number of invitations to be involved in the email interviews. So far my response rate is slightly over 50%, which is similar to my previous experience of inviting ‘virtual strangers’ to collaborate on a paper about wikis in 2003. Interestingly, it’s almost exactly the same for both types of interview. I’m using my iPod with a microphone to record the in person interviews. The sound quality is clear, and the device itself is relatively unobtrusive. I’m transcribing the audio interviews myself, and am gradually learning a few tricks to make the transcription go more smoothly. I assume this is something I’ll get better at over time; at the moment it’s taking me around 3 times as long to do the transcription as it did to do the interview.
I hope to complete a few more interviews before the Christmas break, and will begin the formal analysis in the New Year.
December 12th, 2006