Social researchers have long been interested in studying organisations and institutions that play key roles in society. One part of this endeavour requires researchers to interview the professionals working in these organisations and institutions. However, researchers often find themselves ill-equipped by conventional methodological teaching and texts, which generally ignore the distinct issues involved in interviewing professional participants. This case study reflects on a PhD research project carried out during 2012 involving the use of the telephone to conduct semi-structured interviews with a set of professional participants working on environmental policy. Some key arguments from the literature and theory are introduced before the main focus of the case is presented, an honest reflection on the experience of using the telephone to conduct interviews in this context. It is concluded that semi-structured telephone interviews can be successful if the research project aims and objectives can be met by semi-structured interviewing and participants' characteristics mean they are able to use the telephone effectively.
Using the Telephone to Interview Professionals: Understanding the Use of Models in Environmental Policy