• Olga PetintsevaEmail author
  • Rita Faria
  • Yarin Eski


This section introduces readers to the goals of the book and its main working premises. Drawing on the body of literature on the so-called elite and expert interviews (EEI), the book addresses methodological challenges and offers ‘tips & tricks’ in interviewing a wide range of actors relevant to criminology and related social sciences. We particularly discuss interviewing the powerful on sensitive topics and why qualitative research with such actors requires specific methodological sensitivity. The introduction states the authors’ epistemological positioning toward the production of knowledge; it presents the book’s general structure and specific features, such as the use of text boxes drawn from recent empirical research as lively illustrations. Moreover, it highlights some of the ethical, methodological, topical and positional particularities, which will be addressed in the remaining chapters of the book.


Qualitative methods Interviews Powerful Crime Crime control 


  1. Aguiar, L. L. M., & Schneider, C. J. (Eds.). (2012). Researching amongst elites: Challenges and opportunities in studying up. Surrey: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  2. Alvesalo-Kuusi, A., & Whyte, D. (2017). Researching the powerful: A call for the reconstruction of research ethics. Sociological Research Online, 23(1), 136–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barak, G. (Ed.). (2015). The Routledge international handbook of the crimes of the powerful. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Beyens, K., Kennes, P., & Tournel, H. (2010). Mijnwerkers of ontdekkingsreizigers? Het kwalitatieve interview. In T. Decorte & D. Zaitch (Eds.), Kwalitatieve methoden en technieken in de criminologie (pp. 187–221). Leuven: Acco.Google Scholar
  5. Bittle, S., Snider, L., Tombs, S., & Whyte, D. (Eds.). (2018). Revisiting crimes of the powerful: Marxism, crime and deviance. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Bogner, A., Littig, B., & Menz, W. (2009). Interviewing experts. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Desmond, M. (2004). Methodological challenges posed in studying an elite in the field. Area, 36(3), 262–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Copes, H., Tewksbury, R., & Sandberg, S. (2016). Publishing qualitative research in criminology and criminal justice journals. Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 27(1), 121–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Faria, R., & Eski, Y. (2018). Een wolf onder de wolven. Ethiek en ethische commissies in criminologisch onderzoek naar ‘the powerful’. Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit, 8(3), 43–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Geis, G., & Goff, C. (1983). Introduction. In E. H. Sutherland (Ed.), White collar crime: The uncut version (pp. ix–xxxiii). New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Holstein, J., & Gubrium, J. F. (2003). Inside interviewing: New lenses, new concerns. Thousand Oaks: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Haggerty, K. D. (2004). Ethics creep: Governing social science research in the name of ethics. Qualitative Sociology, 27(4), 391–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Herzog, C., & Ali, C. (2015). Elite interviewing in media and communications policy research. International Journal of Media & Cultural Politics, 11(1), 37–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Israel, M., & Gelsthorpe, L. (2017). Ethics in criminological research: A powerful force, or a force for the powerful? In M. Cowburn, L. Gelsthorpe, & A. Wahidin (Eds.), Research ethics in criminology: Dilemmas, issues and solutions (pp. 185–203). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Kezar, A. (2003). Transformational elite interviews: Principles and problems. Qualitative Inquiry, 9(3), 395–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Levi, M. (2015). Qualitative research on elite frauds, ordinary frauds, and ‘organized crime’. In H. Copes & J. M. Miller (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of qualitative criminology (pp. 215–235). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Noaks, L., & Wincup, E. (2004). Criminological research: Understanding qualitative methods. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Poupart, J., & Couvrette, A. (2018). Les méthodes qualitatives en « terrain criminologique » : mise en perspective et usage de ces méthodes dans la revue Criminologie. Criminologie, 51(1), 201–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Presser, L. (2009). The narratives of offenders. Theoretical Criminology, 13(2), 177–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Rubin, H. J., & Rubin, I. S. (2011). Qualitative interviewing: The art of hearing data. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  21. Tombs, S., & Whyte, D. (2007). Researching corporate and white-collar crime in an era of neo-liberalism. In H. N. Pontell & G. Geis (Eds.), International handbook of white-collar and corporate crime (pp. 125–184). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Van Audenhove, L., & Donders, K. (2019). Expert interviews and elite interviews for policy analysis in communication studies. In H. Van den Bulck, M. Puppis, K. Donders, & L. Van Audenhove (Eds.), Handbook methods of media policy research. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  23. Yeo, A., Legard, R., Keegan, J., & Ward, K. (2014). In-depth interviews. In J. Ritchie, J. Lewis, C. McNaughton, & R. Ormston (Eds.), Qualitative research practice (pp. 177–210). London: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminology, Criminal Law and Social LawGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Faculty of Law, School of CriminologyUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  3. 3.Department of Political Science and Public AdministrationVU University AmsterdamAmsterdam, North HollandThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations