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Kein Experte ist wie der andere. Vom Umgang mit Missionaren und Geschichtenerzählern
The following text is intended to contribute to the development of the expert interview as an instrument for gathering data in the social sciences. The focus is on the expert’s role in the interview, an aspect that has largely been neglected in the literature on this subject. This paper asserts that the role an expert takes on in an interview situation determines the usefulness of the information gathered in that interview. This makes the /conduct/ of an interview a factor determining its quality, next to general preparation, wording of questions, and the method of evaluation. We lay out a typology of potential interview subjects, illustrating their respective specific characteristics. Experts can be differentiated according to their style of communication (detail oriented, anecdotal, abstracting, evasive, and counterfactual) and by their reasons for participating in an interview (conveying information, persuasion). Ten different types of experts can be differentiated along these two dimensions. Such a typology can help to recognize early on the challenges of certain interview situations (time pressure, fact-gathering, solicitation of opinions) and thus to develop particular interview strategies (active time management, concretization, confrontation, opinion acknowledgement, objectification) that can counteract some experts’ predictably problematic patterns of behavior.
No. 039/2006
Kerstin Martens
Michael Brüggemann

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