online interviewing

Image: Interview with Susan Strickler by bdjsb7

I recently joined an online discussion forum (Scope seminars) with Janet Salmon about online interviewing. It is based on her new book - Online Interviews in Real Time.

An interesting concept Janet talked about is visual research where websites, graphics, video can be looked at with the interviewee and interviewer and questions and discussion stimulated during the interview - visual elicitation - images shown by researcher. Another example might be where the participant illustrates their answers with images - document what is going on in community, business etc., depending on area of research. Participant can talk about it and express significance of images, video etc. Visual stimuli and the type of questions used in the interview can range from structured questions with limited answers to conversations with unstructured questions and open-ended answers.

I wonder if the use of visuals helps participants "open up" or does it depend on their learning style? I know if market researchers used it, they would get more useful information. I find the present market research surveys are very limiting because my recall of products is poor. If they approached it to discuss actual quality of the advertisements would be more useful.

Also I could have used a diagram in my doctorate interviews to help participants remember the framework I was asking them about. Another question I had was how to deal with confidentiality if participants sharing images, video etc as part of the interview or research - need to include the strategy in the research design and seek permission from the participants if they are to be used in documentation of the research.