In-Depth Interviewing with Healthcare Corporate Elites: Strategies for Entry and Engagement


  • Ellen F. Goldman George Washington University
  • Susan Swayze George Washington University


Interviewing corporate elites has received limited attention in the methodological literature. Such elites are considered highly difficult to gain access to and, if involved, are believed to use their power asymmetry to dominate the interview. Understanding the context is considered essential to elite access, interview conduct, and interpretation of findings. The healthcare sector provides interesting challenges for in-depth elite interviewing, including historical norms regarding interview access, types, and duration. In this article, the authors report on the strategies used to gain access to and engage healthcare elites who participated in multiple personal interviews using the Seidman in-depth phenomenological interviewing method. Techniques for identifying and recruiting potential participants, scheduling and preparing for the interview, and establishing rapport are described. Concept mapping is presented as a way of fully engaging the elites in the tripartite interview process and facilitating trustworthiness. The lessons learned offer important strategies for those undertaking phenomenological research with elites.

Author Biographies

Ellen F. Goldman, George Washington University

Associate Professor, Human and Organizational Learning

Susan Swayze, George Washington University

Assistant professor Educational research