Their Reign, Their Game? Accessing the Powerful

  • Olga PetintsevaEmail author
  • Rita Faria
  • Yarin Eski


The chapter delves into practical issues of respondent selection, and of finding and accessing expert and elite participants for research interviews. It discusses powerful participants’ specificities and offers solutions for improving the chances of generating samples of respondents and collecting high-quality data. After addressing sampling techniques, it discusses (gaining and maintaining) access, including formal permissions and informal ways of contacting people; the role of gatekeepers; making your way through formal and informal hierarchies; ways of communicating with elites and experts, managing limited time frames, as well as presenting yourself and the research. Furthermore, the chapter discusses ethics and discretion while getting and maintaining access, especially informed consent, anonymity, recording the interview, transparency regarding the researcher’s role and goals.


Sampling Access Gatekeepers Approval Snowballing 


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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

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