Key-informant, expert & stakeholder interviews

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  • #1603
    Don Osborn
    Participant

    Is there a good source on terminology for types of qualitative interviewing? Particularly interested in disambiguating “key informant interview,” “expert interview,” and “stakeholder interview.” Conceptually the terms overlap considerably, but while some sources appear to use all or some combination of these terms interchangeably, one also notes some differences in use. For instance, “stakeholder interview” appears in discussions of business related research and requirements analysis, “key informant interview” in some applied social research as well as academic research, and “expert interview” in contexts of knowledge management as well as academic research.

    One is tempted to say that “key informant” is a broader category, with “expert” perhaps accenting knowledge and “stakeholder” position of interest. One non authoritative source suggested that “stakeholder interviews” often were structured interviews, and another suggested that “key informant interviews” tended to be semi-structured, but I’m not sure the structure makes the difference.

    Reason for asking is a side effort I’m making to clarify approaches to interviewing in qualitative research for some colleagues. Thanks in advance for any feedback.

    #1606
    Andy Kidd
    Participant

    Very interested in any responses to this question. I have in mind to interview employees of an organization – stakeholders. But also what I would consider Key-informants who are high level management who are involved in my line of research – Corporate Social responsibility (CSR).

    #1605

    I think of them like this, if it will help:

    A key informant is someone “key” to the issue at hand, in other words, they are an important node in the network of people related to this issue.  An expert is someone who has knowledge about the issue, but does not need to be part of it, as the key informant would be.  Stakeholders are those who are affected by or affecting the issue through their participation.

    As an example, if the research is about high school principal’s decision-making at a city high school, the principle of City High would be a key informant, the head of the university professional development program that trains principals would be your expert, and a teacher who was interviewed about the impact of the principal’s reorganization effort would be a stakeholder.

    #1604

    Hi Mary, sure, thank you for the clarity. Kudos!

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