Methodological challenges in researching email consultations as a form of communication in patient-provider interactions

Ditte Laursen, Line Maria Simonsen, Anette Grønning

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Email is a born-digital form of communication, which can be studied in a number of ways using a variety of methods, as with any other socially and culturally mediated phenomenon. However, despite a great number of studies, the methodologies of the studies have attracted only little attention. In this paper, we wish to extend our knowledge regarding methodological challenges in studying emails. In particular, we will consider the methodological challenges, which any scholar will encounter when email in its digital form is transformed to and preserved as an object of study. Based on a review of existing studies’ archiving strategies as well as our own study on email consultations in a healthcare setting, we will examine and discuss analytical and methodological consequences of different approaches to archiving and data management of emails. We demonstrate that the archived record is shaped by its context of creation. Since collection methods and archiving tools are not neutral, we call for a greater attentiveness to this part of the research process. We conclude by outlining implications for systematic empirical research into emails as a form of communication.
TidsskriftQualitative Research
Antal sider19
StatusUdgivet - 4 feb. 2022