Tracking Transition: Issues in Asynchronous E-Mail Interviewing


  • Muir Houston University of Stirling



transition, e-mail interviewing, students, tracking, data quality, employment


The purpose and focus of this paper is twofold. The first concerns the methodological issues involved with tracking a mobile population, namely students graduating from university; whose patterns of residence may for some time be transitory in nature. The second is to provide some details from a small sample of graduates on the issues raised in the transition from undergraduate study. The paper will tackle the two issues in order. First, an examination of recent methods of qualitative data collection which the development of information technology, in the form of Computer Mediated Communication (CMC), has allowed is undertaken. Second, the results of using one of these techniques (asynchronous e-mail) to gather information on the transition from undergraduate study are reported. In addition, advantages and disadvantages that can arise in the use of these new techniques are reported. This paper engages with the overall theme of transition in a number of ways. First, the students are in a process of transition in status; from undergraduate to graduate. Second, in many cases, they may well be in transition in terms of location; from the university location either back home, or away to a new location. Third, they are in transition in terms of activity; either seeking or into employment or engaging in further study at a higher level. Finally, they may be in transition in relation to developing new social networks. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0802116


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Author Biography

Muir Houston, University of Stirling

MUIR HOUSTON is currently a Research Fellow in the Institute of Education at the University of Stirling and an Associate of the Centre for Research in Lifelong Learning (CRLL) a research centre jointly organised by the University of Stirling and Glasgow Caledonian University. He was recently awarded his PhD for a thesis which looked at the relationship between academic performance and progression in contemporary higher education. A sociologist by training, his recent work has focused on all aspects of the student experience with an emphasis on widening participation and non-traditional students. He is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.




How to Cite

Houston, M. (2008). Tracking Transition: Issues in Asynchronous E-Mail Interviewing. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 9(2).



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