Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This chapter focuses on how qualitative health researchers can harness internet-mediated research to elicit new data, or to capture existing data present in online spaces, and the benefits and challenges of this. Digital qualitative data comprise the text, pictures, and ‘meta-data’. In general, internet-mediated qualitative research can be divided into two approaches: those which conceptualise the internet as a social space where data can be found; and those which harness the internet as a tool with which to collect data. The internet is both a social space where rich data can be found in multiple media, and a tool for eliciting new data from participants. The convenience of using existing data is seductive, but researchers must understand that such data have limitations and methodological convenience should not outweigh theoretical sampling considerations. Researchers also need to be mindful of the specific ethical considerations related to the online environment.

Original publication





Book title

Qualitative Research in Health Care

Publication Date



97 - 109