The Practice of Elite Interviewing in Politicised Policy Areas


This case study takes as its focus the deployment of the elite interview method in politicised policy areas. It draws upon the experiences garnered from two research projects – one focusing upon terrorism and the other on sex trafficking – to consider the realities of interviewing experts with recognised knowledge and power in fields that are characterised by contestation. We cast a critically reflexive eye over three key stages of the fieldwork process: pre-interview, interview and post-interview. In so doing, we outline both the advantages of the method for gaining an insight into the competing perspectives of individuals and organisations engaged in policy-relevant debates, and the apparent complexities associated with interviewing people who are considered experts in their field.

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