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Talking to People III: Expert Interviews and Elite Interviews

  • Leo Van Audenhove
  • Karen Donders
Chapter

Abstract

An expert interview is a qualitative semi-structured or open interview with a person holding ‘expert knowledge’. It is a method often used in policy analysis, be it as part of a more comprehensive set of methods or as a stand-alone method. The methodological literature on expert interviews in the field of communication policy studies is limited. As a result, scholars and students refer to the more extensive methodological literature on expert interviews and elite interviews in other fields. Although there are similarities between expert interviews and elite interviews, there are differences as well. The main points of contention are: (1) whether expert interviews can lead to objective knowledge, (2) what we can understand under elites and/or experts, (3) how power and bias influence the outcome of the data obtained. In this chapter, we start with the discussion on the differences between expert interviews and elite interviews. We move on to discuss types of expert knowledge and the resulting types of expert interviews. In the last section, we focus on the procedure and practical conduct in relation to expert interviews.

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Further Reading

  1. Bogner, A., Littig, B., & Menz, W. (2009). Interviewing experts. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Desmond, M. (2004). Methodological challenges posed in studying an elite in the field. Area, 36(3), 262–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Harvey, W. S. (2011). Strategies for conducting elite interviews. Qualitative Research, 11(4), 431–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Herzog, C., & Ali, C. (2015). Elite interviewing in media and communications policy research. International Journal of Media & Cultural Politics, 11(1), 37–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leo Van Audenhove
    • 1
    • 2
  • Karen Donders
    • 3
  1. 1.iMEC-SMIT, Department of Communication StudiesVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.CoLAB, University of the Western CapeCape TownSouth Africa
  3. 3.iMEC-SMIT, Department of Communication StudiesVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium

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