CoM.2: Expert Interviews

CoM.2: Expert Interviews

Expert interviews are another core method used in FenRIAM in order to collect qualitative information and numerical data.

Interviews are one of the most largely used methods for collecting in-formation from an entire social group, a representative sample, or a single expert. Interviews can collect both, quantitative and qualitative data. The way interviews are structured (e.g. strict interview schedule, semi-structured, open) and their design (e.g. types of ques¬tions asked and response options) determine the relative degree of the qualitative or quantitative nature of the interview. Open questions lead to a more explorative character of interviews; close questions with predefined response options focus on gathering information about predefined hy-potheses. Often a combination is useful. Interviews can be conducted as face-to-face inter¬views (group or single) or telephone interviews.


  • Define the type of requested expertise
  • Identify suitable experts and contact information
  • Select among them the desired interviewee
  • Prepare a guideline for the interview (introduction with information for the interviewee and interview questions)
  • Contact the interviewee and make a date
  • Conduct the interview and record the responses (notes or voice recorder – the latter to be agreed before!)
  • Prepare a written record of the interview

Data sources (examples, not complete):

  • Scientific experts involved in the proposal preparation (e.g. scientific manager)
  • Technical experts involved in the proposal preparation (e.g. chief project engineer)
  • Scientific and technical experts from potential investors
  • Scientific and technical experts from comparable facilities and projects
  • Scientific and technical experts from the concerned external communities (e.g. users, suppliers, collaborators, customers)
  • Internal and external experts for specific aspects (civil engineering, ecological environment, work security, radiation protection, local economy, public relations, education & training, ...)

An expert is a person with specific and particularly deep knowledge and/or high skills with respect to the aspects that are studied by the interview.

Standard textbooks