Why Are Social Scientists Still Reluctant to Embrace Email as Data? An Ethnographic Examination of Interactions within Virtual Teams

Yee Au, Abigail Marks

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Abstract

This research note examines why email is underused as a source of data within work and employment studies and provides an example of the usefulness of email for gaining a more detailed understanding of behaviour in the workplace. Three main reasons are identified for the hesitancy to use email as a source of data. Firstly, the confused role of email as formal and informal archival data as well as concerns regarding the immediate often non-deliberated exchanges; secondly, issues with access to and confidentiality of email data; finally, the challenges of triangulation of a data set which includes email data. The analysis of emails between virtual team members, alongside observational and interview methods, demonstrates how interactions between colleagues via email are subtly different to the way in which organizational members describe relationships in an interview situation and reveals how access to email data provides an additional resource in understanding behaviours within the workplace.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationApproaches to Fieldwork
EditorsSam Hillyard
PublisherSage
Pages880-890
Number of pages11
Volume27
Edition5
ISBN (Print)9781446267950
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 14 Sep 2014

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Why Are Social Scientists Still Reluctant to Embrace Email as Data? An Ethnographic Examination of Interactions within Virtual Teams'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Au, Y., & Marks, A. (Accepted/In press). Why Are Social Scientists Still Reluctant to Embrace Email as Data? An Ethnographic Examination of Interactions within Virtual Teams. In S. Hillyard (Ed.), Approaches to Fieldwork (5 ed., Vol. 27, pp. 880-890). Sage. https://doi.org/10.1177/0950017013494436