Combining semi-structured interviews and document analysis in a study of private security expertise
This chapter introduces the reader to a study of security contracting by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA). The study was conducted as part of a larger research project entitled 'Security for Sale' which author worked on together with his/her colleague Professor Maria Stern between 2009 and 2013. The chapter describes the ways in which this study was designed, how and why the different methods were chosen and used, as well as the methodological implications of these choices. It describes some of the key theoretical points of departure for the study and how these, together with the research question, provided a basis for the design of the study and the choice of methods for data collection and analysis. The chapter discusses the application of methods by focusing chiefly on strategies for, and problems with, data collection. It reflects on the experiences of applying these methods for studying private security actors more broadly.