E-Mail Interviews with Senior Legal Professional Women in Australia

Angela Ragusa, Philip Groves

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


The development of successful interactions utilizing e-mail, as an asynchronous computer-mediated communication (CMC) technology to conduct qualitative social research, relies upon a host of social norms, symbols and meaning systems well articulated by the micro-sociological theory Symbolic Interactionism. This chapter examines some benefits and consequences of using e-mail interviews to collect data from female senior counsels about contemporary stereotypes of successful barristers in Australia. Despite benefits of cost efficiency, ease of traversing geographical distance and a myriad of claims made by researchers heralding the advantages of e-mail as a data collection tool, this research questions e-mail's applicability to recruit busy professional participants and elicit in-depth responses to written interview questions when ongoing dialogue is unsolicited. Drawing upon primary data provided by senior counsels, key examples are provided to demonstrate the potential for miscommunication, paucity of communication and inflexibility e-mail may engender when social interactions, beyond the distribution of research instruments, are absent.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInteraction in Communication Technologies and Virtual Learning Environments
Subtitle of host publicationHuman Factors
EditorsAngela T Ragusa
Place of PublicationUnited States
PublisherInformation Science Reference
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9781605668741
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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