Using E-Interviews in Research on Second Language Teacher Education
Interviewing is a well-known method of qualitative data collection in applied linguistics research. It is widely used in diverse contexts and for a variety of purposes. Recently, the potential of e-mail interviewing, or e-interviews, has been discovered e.g. James 2007, Bamptom, Cowton and Downs 2013. Consequently, it may be considered as an alternative to traditional face-to-face interviews. The purpose of the paper is to discuss some characteristics of the e-interview as a research tool in the realm of second language teacher education. For this purpose, the article draws on a study conducted among novice EFL teachers which integrated two important aspects of L2 teacher education, namely teacher beliefs and teacher reflection. The primary goal of the research was to encourage a group of teachers to reflect on and investigate their beliefs and experiences concerning autonomy in language teaching. Exploration and analysis of one’s personal theories, in turn, are seen as indispensable elements of teachers’ professional development. The study results are used to point out some benefits as well as limitations of e-mail interviewing in terms of gathering qualitative data. Most importantly, it was observed that using e-mail to carry out the interviews provided a considerable opportunity to draw on and develop teachers’ reflective thinking skills.