Implications of doing insider interviews: studying geography and geographers

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Hanne Kirstine Adriansen, Lene Møller Madsen

The article addresses the issue of being a ‘double' insider when conducting interviews. Double insider means being an insider both in relation to one's research matter - in the authors' case the making of geographical knowledge - and in relation to one's interviewees - our colleagues. The article is a reflection paper in the sense that we reflect upon experiences drawn from a previous research project carried out in Danish academia. It is important that the project was situated in a Scandinavian workplace culture because this has bearings for the social, cultural, and economic situation in which knowledge was constructed. The authors show that being a double insider affects both the interview situation and how interviews are planned, located, and analysed. Being an insider in relation to one's interviewees gives the advantage of having a shared history and a close knowledge of the context, and these benefits outnumber the disadvantages. Being an insider in relation to one's research matter makes it difficult to contest hegemonic discourses and tacit values and ideas. Recommendations on how to handle the double insider situation are given. The article concludes that for analytical purposes, it is useful to separate the two roles, but in reality they coexist and are intertwined.

Keywords: geography, insiders, interviews, positionality, power relations

Original languageEnglish
JournalNorsk Geografisk Tidsskrift
Volume93
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)145-153
Number of pages9
ISSN0029-1951
Publication statusPublished - 2009

ID: 16834490