Book chapter
Open access

Interviews and Observations

ContributorsDe Pryck, Kari
Published inInternational Organizations and Research Methods ·, Editors Fanny Badache, Leah R. Kimber and Lucile Maertens, p. 268-274
PublisherMichigan University Press
First online date2023-09-01

Who has never had, reading a report by an international organization (IO) or interviewing an international actor, the impression of being served the official discourse, a politically correct speech that shies away from sensitive and contentious issues? While this may not be a problem if you are interested in the representations and worldviews projected by IOs, it may become frustrating when you seek to study what they do in practice. Researchers here are interested in daily activities, which are often more complex than what procedures let transpire, loopholes in the procedures (which give bureaucrats room for maneuver), and cases of mismanagement (no one is perfect). Yet you will often be told, especially in times of crisis, that there is nothing more to say than what is already available in the official reports and press releases. In this chapter, I discuss how to combine interviews and participant observation to circumvent (and at the same time study) IOs’ strategies to control the information that is being shared in official documents and discourses. Both methods can be used to generate original data on the day-to-day life of IOs and to complement other approaches that delve into the documents and reports that they produce.

Citation (ISO format)
DE PRYCK, Kari. Interviews and Observations. In: International Organizations and Research Methods ·. [s.l.] : Michigan University Press, 2023. p. 268–274.
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Book chapter (Published version)
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