The Story of Ethnochat: Designing an Instant Messaging Program to Conduct Semi-Structured or Unstructured Interviews
Instant Messaging (IM) programs are powerful and unique tools for conducting semi-structured or unstructured online interviews. However, many unanswered questions exist surrounding the use of IM interviewing. This design chapter takes a storytelling approach to answer two specific research questions: (1) Do rich data collected via IM stand the test of time? (2) How can an IM program be built designed specifically for researchers? The chapter is organized into three parts. Part one reviews recent, related research. Part two takes a somewhat unusual approach to answer the research question regarding the long-term power of IM data by re-visiting the author’s experience from 2007 using IM to interview female participants about their feelings using online dating sites. Part three is a detailed description of a prototype IM program, Ethnochat. There are many IM clients in existence, but nothing has been made specifically for professional researchers for semi-structured or unstructured interviews. Having the best tool available will help urban planners conduct their research more efficiently and at a significantly reduced cost.
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Citation / Publisher Attribution
The Story of Ethnochat: Designing an Instant Messaging Program to Conduct Semi-Structured or Unstructured Interviews, in C. N. Silva (Ed.), Online Research Methods in Urban and Planning Studies: Design and Outcomes, IGI Global, p. 86-98
Scholar Commons Citation
Zalinger, Jason, "The Story of Ethnochat: Designing an Instant Messaging Program to Conduct Semi-Structured or Unstructured Interviews" (2012). Communication Faculty Publications. 645.