Synchronous Text-Based Instant Messaging: Online Interviewing Tool

  • Gemma PearceEmail author
  • Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani
  • Joan L. Duda
Reference work entry


This chapter presents an explanation of the use of a synchronous text-based online interviewing method, which is a method of interviewing participants online using an instant messaging service to type to each other at the same time in a conversational style. This method was originally designed to address the need to carry out interviews on a potentially sensitive subject while also achieving a continuity of private discussion. It is particularly useful for situations in which face-to-face or telephone interviews are inappropriate. Online text-based interviews can, therefore, act as a solution to a perennial concern in health-related research, and is an advance on the standard practices of open-ended questionnaires, email interviews, and online discussion boards. Synchronous text-based online interviewing can be offered as an additional choice to research participants, as well as used on its own if examining sensitive topics or if additional anonymity is suitable. The use of the method alongside its strengths and weaknesses will be outlined and discussed in this chapter.


Online interview Qualitative Internet research Innovative methods Sensitive topic 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gemma Pearce
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani
    • 2
  • Joan L. Duda
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for Advances in Behavioural ScienceCoventry UniversityCoventryUK
  2. 2.Health Psychology and Behavioural Medicine Research Group, School of Psychology and Speech PathologyCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia
  3. 3.School of Sport and Exercise SciencesUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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