Collecting data from elites and ultra elites: Telephone and face-to-face interviews with macroeconomists

Neil Stephens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

173 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the author's experiences of conducting both face-to-face and telephone interviews with elite and ultra-elite respondents. It draws upon the author's PhD research that uses a Sociology of Scientific Knowledge perspective to understand the social construction of macroeconomics. The article demonstrates how this perspective, and contributions from broader methodological texts, shaped the evolving research practice. The author reflects upon the distance between themselves as a relatively novice researcher and the high status position of the elite and ultra-elite respondents. This is followed with a discussion of several practical issues that arose from the research experience that would usefully inform the work of any researcher considering utilising telephone interviews. The article concludes that telephone interviewing with elite and ultra-elite respondents is both a productive and valid research option.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-216
Number of pages14
JournalQualitative Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2007


  • Elites
  • Qualitative methods
  • Sociology of Scientific Knowledge
  • Telephone and face-to-face interviewing
  • Young researcher

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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