Canada Research Chair on Transgender Children and Their Families

Dealing With Scam in Online Qualitative Research

Strategies and Ethical Considerations

Here’s the new article by members of our team! Annie Pullen Sansfaçon, Elio Gravel and Morgane A. Gelly. The article is published in the Journal of Qualitative Methods. Here’s the link for the article in free access :


In the wake of COVID-19, numerous research projects moved to online data collection to comply with public health guidelines. Since then, many qualitative projects have continued to use online methods to collect data. While online methods facilitated research continuity, they also introduced new opportunities for deceptive behaviors, particularly misrepresentation and multiple participation. Drawing from a recent project that conducted online interviews with young people who detransition after a gender transition, this article describes how fraudulent interviews were identified and dealt with. We present 12 indicators of potential scams in qualitative interviews, including similarities between participants, the type of information provided, participants’ behaviors, and inconsistencies in the narratives. We discuss our overall experience and, in light of recent literature, present strategies to prevent and deal with scams in qualitative research.