Talking to citizens: Qualitative interviews

Martine van Selm, Natali Helberger

Research output: Chapter/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


In this chapter, we explain how qualitative interviews with citizens can be a valuable method for media policy research. We highlight a number of methodological principles, such as the importance of sensitizing concepts, sampling and saturation, as well as validity and reliability. We explain these principles in more depth by critically reflecting on the way in which they were applied in two interview studies among viewers of current affairs programs and French chefs, respectively. An important objective of this chapter is to not only point to the benefits of interview research, or how to conduct interviews, but to also draw awareness to possible pitfalls, problems of validity and generalizability. Particularly in situations in which interviews must serve as input for policy research and advice, it is important that the policy researcher is well aware of both the opportunities and the limitations of interview research. A challenge for researchers that wish to use the insights from interviews is, therefore, to find ways of translating the insights from interviews into the language and logic of law and policy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave handbook of methods for media policy research
EditorsH. Van den Bulck, M. Puppis, K. Donders, L. Van Audenhove
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


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