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Conducting Elite Interviews in an International Context: Lessons From the World of Public Diplomacy

By: Published: 2019 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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The aim of this case study is to showcase practicalities of using the method of elite interviewing in an international context. The article is based on the experience gained by the author during the process of collecting data from 80 interviews with diplomats and non-governmental organization representatives in the United States, Norway, and Australia. The initial study focused on the phenomena of government–non-governmental organization cooperation in the domain of public diplomacy, providing evidence that elite interviewing as an important method of decrypting meaning in an international, multi-stakeholder environment. The case study argues that such large multinational studies require long-term planning, proper financing, and a practical approach—all to be taken into consideration at the study design stage. The article also clearly differentiates between the pre-implementation phase of elite interviewing (assuring funding, building credentials, mapping participants, and building their portfolio) and its implementation phase (contacting, organizing meetings, and making proper follow-up). Finally, it provides the readers with strategies of approaching high-level, senior international stakeholders for potential interviews.

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