An online interview is an online research method conducted using computer-mediated communication (CMC), such as instant messaging, email, or video. Online interviews require different ethical considerations, sampling and rapport than practices found in traditional face-to-face (F2F) interviews. Online interviews are separated into synchronous online interviews, for example via online chat which happen in 'real time' online and asynchronous online interviews, for example via email conducted in non-real time. Some authors discuss online interviews in relation to online focus groups whereas others look at online interviews as separate research methods. This article will only discuss online interviews.
Online interviews, like offline interviews, typically ask respondents to explain what they think or how they feel about an aspect of their social world. Interviews are especially useful for understanding the meanings participants assign to their activities; their perspectives, motives, and experiences. Interviews are also useful for eliciting the language used by group members, gathering information about processes that cannot be observed, or inquiring about the past. Thus the objectives researchers have do not differ significantly, however the methods and research design can be effected by the online component of the research which this article will take issue with.