A Comparison of Internet and Face-to-Face (FTF) Qualitative Methods in Studying the Relationships of Gay Men

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Although the Internet increasingly is part of our daily interactions, it remains largely unexplored as a qualitative research medium. Because most research on the relationships of gay men uses homogeneous samples, which are often difficult to locate, the Internet provides a methodological opportunity to obtain a more diverse set of perspectives of the lived experiences of participants. Our primary interests here are to discuss the processes and ethics of using Internet focus groups and in-depth interviews compared to traditional face-to-face (FTF) methods and to discuss the trustworthiness and quality of data garnered from the use of Internet methods. Using previous literature and our own experiences conducting Internet-based and FTF qualitative research that explored the relationships of gay men as well as data from this study, we suggest that using the Internet as a qualitative research medium can enhance sample recruitment and result in data that is trustworthy. Additionally, we offer suggestions for online moderating.



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