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Interviews in International Relations

  • Delphine Alles
  • Auriane Guilbaud
  • Delphine Lagrange
Chapter
Part of the The Sciences Po Series in International Relations and Political Economy book series (SPIRP)

Abstract

An interview is a social relationship involving the researcher in an immediate and interpersonal rapport with an individual who becomes both an object of research and an interacting subject. While the methodology of international relations (IR) interviewing borrows techniques traditionally used in political science and sociology, it also involves a number of structural constraints. The latter may pertain to the relationship between the researcher and her interviewees (often marked by asymmetry in elitist settings), the types of subjects they address (frequently characterized by an imperative of discretion or even secrecy) or the location and material conditions of the interviews (which may take place in imposing institutional settings and involve the use of foreign languages). The methodological, practical and reflexive tools introduced in this chapter are designed to help aspiring researchers to identify and get access to relevant respondents. They will facilitate their handling of situations which may otherwise interfere with interview relationships and thus with research results. The chapter also provides a reflection on the ethics of interviewing and on the uses of interviews in IR research.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Delphine Alles
    • 1
  • Auriane Guilbaud
    • 2
  • Delphine Lagrange
    • 3
  1. 1.University of Paris East (UPEC – Créteil)CréteilFrance
  2. 2.University Paris 8/CRESPPA-LabToPSaint-DenisFrance
  3. 3.University Paris 2ParisFrance

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