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Key Stakeholder Interview

Interviews with key stakeholders with expertise relevant to a particular community issue are lengthy, one to one interviews that may last an hour or two, and require specialist skill to use the time effectively, and to elicit relevant and specific information.

The interviewer should be able to gain insights from a 'casual' conversation so the person being interviewed does not get too narrow in addressing a single point (unless you want a lot of info about a specific issue). This interviewing technique is like the technique in focus groups, because you can keep asking questions until you get a satisfactory response. These are expensive and hard to do well, but they are very good sources of information and are especially useful when it is important to understand the views of certain people (because of their position or their expertise).


  • Stakeholder interviews aim to elicit detailed information and opinions on an issue through wide-ranging discussion rather than specific questioning.


  • Stakeholder interviews provide a broad overview of the interviewees' opinions about a specific topic that may reveal hidden concerns or ideas that would not be expressed in response to a set number of specific questions.


  • Useful for targeting key stakeholders who have specific knowledge about an issue.
  • Provides opportunity to get understanding of concerns and issues of key stakeholders.
  • Can be used to determine how best to communicate with the public.
  • Can be used to determine the best members of consultative committees.

Special considerations/weaknesses:

  • Can be expensive.
  • Can be time consuming.
  • Interviewers must engender trust or risk negative response to the format.
  • Requires skilled interviewers

Resources required:

  • Trained interviewers.
  • Recording methods (may be audio, hand-written or computer aided records, but should be unobtrusive, so the focus is on the content and conversation).
  • May need a professional typist to transcribe tapes and hand-written notes, as this is time consuming.

Can be used for:

  • Engage community
  • Discover community issues
  • Communicate an issue
  • Build alliances, consensus

Number of people required to help organize:

  • Medium (2-12 people)

Audience size:

  • Medium (11-30)
  • Small (<=10)

Time required:

  • Medium (6 weeks-6 months)

Skill level/support required:

  • High (Specialist skills)


  • Medium (AUD$1,000-AUD$10,000)

Participation level:

  • High (Stakeholders participate in decision)

Innovation level:

  • Medium (Some new elements)


  • Select interviewees according to designated criteria (areas of expertise, representation of groups, complementary of skills for committees).
  • Arrange times and places for interviewing. Better quality information will be forthcoming if the interviewee is in a familiar setting, so it may be easier for the interviewer to go to them.
  • Ensure uninterrupted time for at least one hour.
  • Check all equipment and take spare tapes, batteries, pens, etcetera to avoid any interruptions during the interview.
  • Try to transcribe interview notes as soon as possible after the interview, while nuances, body language and asides are still in the interviewer's memory.
  • Prepare a report, including the verbatim interviews, and offer copies to the interviewees.


Many of the resources in the “Participatory Practices” category originated in Coastal CRC's Citizen Science Toolbox (www.coastal.crc.org.au/toolbox/). With permission, NCDD included the resource on our wiki so practitioners could expand upon the listing.

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