Presidents, provosts, deans, and other upper-level administrators in higher education fit common definitions of “elites” in the context of qualitative research. Scholarship on methods specific to the field of higher education has not identified or described the unique challenges of interviewing these and other elites. The purpose of this paper is to examine challenges and share strategies for elite interviewing, with specific application to qualitative research in the field of higher education. We provide three examples of empirical studies involving elite interviewing and, using literature from other fields, highlight challenges and strategies. By anticipating challenges and implementing these strategies, researchers can enhance the data collection experience and quality of data.
elite interviewing, power, case study, interviewing strategies, higher education
We are grateful to Dr. Cecilia Orphan for here excellent feedback on the initial version of this paper.
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Recommended APA Citation
McClure, K., & McNaughtan, J. L. (2021). Proximity to Power: The Challenges and Strategies of Interviewing Elites in Higher Education Research. The Qualitative Report, 26(3), 874-992. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2021.4615
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