The qualitative case studies in my PhD thesis are based on 65 semi-structured elite interviews with high-ranking presidential advisers, cabinet members, deputies and national experts in Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia who I specifically selected for their knowledge of and/or insight in the specific cases.
Elite interviews with the actors involved not only presented the most effective way to gather the case-specific data required for validating the results of my statistical models but also produced even more detailed insights into the use of presidential powers and the decision-making patterns of presidents and their staff.
Conducting a large number of elite interviews in several countries for the same research project is quite rare, so that my interviews have been subject to two academic papers:
- Köker, Philipp. (under review). Interviewing political elites in CEE.
- Köker, Philipp. 2014. ‘Semi-structured elite interviews in a nested analysis framework: Studying presidential activism in Central and Eastern Europe’. In: SAGE Research Methods Cases. London: SAGE Publications (17 pp.) doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/978144627305014534927.
In addition, SAGE Research Methods commissioned me to film two videos for their new teaching collection which are both based on my experiences during my PhD research (more information on my videos for SAGE here):
- Köker, Philipp. (2016). ‘An Introduction to Elite Interviewing. SAGE Research Methods. http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781473968660
- Köker, Philipp. (2016). ‘Researching Presidential Activism in Central and Eastern Europe: Interviewing Political Elites’. SAGE Research Methods. http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781473966949
Last, in early 2013 I held a workshop on interviewing for research together with my colleague Erin M. Saltman at UCL which was later nominated for the UCL Provost’s Teaching Award 2012-13.
- “Qualitative research interviews: A student-led methods workshop”; Philipp Köker & Erin M. Saltman; 12 February 2013; UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies..
Previously, Erin and I wrote about our experiences in interviewing on the UCL SSEES Research Blog:
- Saltman, Erin Marie and Philipp Köker. 2012. Fieldwork interviews: From phonebooks to fascists. 8 Nov 2012. UCL SSEES Research Blog. Available at: http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/ssees/2012/11/08/fieldwork-interviews-from-phonebooks-to-fascists/