Online Communities in Saudi Arabia: Evaluating the Impact on Culture Through Online Semi-Structured Interviews


  • Yeslam Al-Saggaf Charles Sturt University
  • Kirsty Williamson Monash University



online communities, web-based forums, asynchronous communication, Saudi Arabia, ethnography


he aim of this article is to discuss the lessons learned from conducting semi-structured interviews online in an ethnographic study that took place in Saudi Arabia during the period 2001-2002. The purpose of the study was to explore individuals' participation in online communities in Saudi Arabia and also understand how online com­munities in Saudi Arabia are affecting partici­pants' offline culture. Semi-structured online inter­views were used to report the perceptions of 15 participants (8 females, 7 males) about their online community experience in Saudi Arabia. After a brief background on Saudi culture, the article discusses the conceptual and methodo­logi­cal aspects of the study. It then discusses semi-structured interviews, highlighting the rationale for conducting them online. A discussion of sampling and participant selection follows. The article then discusses the recruitment of participants and the difficulties involved in this process. The ways in which the online interviews were conducted and the data were analysed are discussed next. The article concludes by offering a discussion of the lessons learned from using this technique. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0403247


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Author Biographies

Yeslam Al-Saggaf, Charles Sturt University

Dr. Yeslam AL-SAGGAF, Lecturer in Information Technology, Associate Course Coordinator, Master of Information Technology, School of Information Studies, Charles Sturt University

Kirsty Williamson, Monash University

Dr. Kirsty WILLIAMSON, Director, Information and Telecommunications Needs Research Monash University and Charles Sturt University




How to Cite

Al-Saggaf, Y., & Williamson, K. (2004). Online Communities in Saudi Arabia: Evaluating the Impact on Culture Through Online Semi-Structured Interviews. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 5(3).