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The online survey as a qualitative research tool

Braun, Virginia; Clarke, Victoria; Boulton, Elicia; Davey, Louise; McEvoy, Charlotte


Virginia Braun

Elicia Boulton

Louise Davey

Charlotte McEvoy


Fully qualitative surveys, which prioritise qualitative research values, and harness the rich potential of qualitative data, have much to offer qualitative researchers, especially given online delivery options. Yet the method remains underutilised, and there is little in the way of methodological discussion of qualitative surveys. Underutilisation and limited methodological discussion perhaps reflect the dominance of interviewing in qualitative research, and (misplaced) assumptions about qualitative survey data lacking depth. By discussing our experiences of developing online surveys as a tool for qualitative research, we seek to challenge preconceptions about qualitative surveys, and to demonstrate that qualitative surveys are an exciting, flexible method with numerous applications, and advantages for researchers and participants alike. We offer an overview and practical design information, illustrated with examples from some of our studies.

Journal Article Type Article
Journal International Journal of Social Research Methodology
Print ISSN 1364-5579
Electronic ISSN 1464-5300
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 1-14
APA6 Citation Braun, V., Clarke, V., Boulton, E., Davey, L., & McEvoy, C. (in press). The online survey as a qualitative research tool. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 1-14.
Keywords General social sciences, qualitative paradigm, qualitative survey, question design, research design, thematic analysis
Publisher URL
Additional Information Peer Review Statement: The publishing and review policy for this title is described in its Aims & Scope.; Aim & Scope: http://www.tandfonline....ope&journalCode=tsrm20; Received: 2020-05-13; Accepted: 2020-07-31; Published: 2020-08-16