Electronic interviewing is a method that can be used for both one-to-one interviews and focus groups, and offers practical advantages. In the first place it is not constrained by geographical locations or time zones and, second, electronic interviewing requires no additional transcription. Not only does this save money but it can also eliminate errors introduced through transcription. Third, electronic interviewing diminishes the problem of interviewer effect. It can also reduce problems caused by dominant or shy participants, particularly in electronic focus groups.
The skills required to conduct online discussions are different skills for both the interviewer and the subject since lack of verbal communication can be a problem. Often tacit information that would be conveyed in a conventional interview situation will be lost in electronic conversations. Non-verbal communication and active listening are essential elements of effective interviewing. No doubt, as technology progresses and videocam equipment becomes commonplace, even some non-verbal communication will be transportable.
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