Code of Practice for Interviews

All quotations used in publications relating to the first period of fieldwork were anonymised (except where I was asked to attribute them). For the more recent fieldwork I have followed and will continue to follow this code of practice.

Unattributed Quotations

In general quotations are unattributed. On occasions, even when quotations are anonymous, insiders can guess the author because they know the style or the substance. Often this does not matter because insiders already know speakers’ positions in the debate. If there are grounds for concern the paper is sent to the person quoted prior to publication.

Attributed Quotations

No attributed quotation is ever published without a request for permission from the speaker.

The expectation is that respondents will check each quotation for accuracy. It is not expected that respondents will withdraw permission for the use of attributed quotations en masse because they do not agree with the analysis. Use of such a veto in order to influence the analysis threatens the scientific independence of the project.


Both of the above are subsumed under the general promise of `confidentiality’. Confidentiality means `acting honourably when trusted with a confidence.’ It means never using information in such a way as to embarrass the person who has provided it. To put this into practice, anything potentially embarrassing is checked with the person being discussed, and/or the person being quoted, or a third party.

Likewise nothing is mentioned that could be potentially hurtful unless it is an integral part of the historical or sociological theme. Again, the advice of others is sought when there is doubt.

Responsibility of Respondents

If no response to a request for permission has been received within a month, it is taken that no problem has been encountered and that any permission requested has been granted. [Usually, requests are made by email. They are usually repeated and every effort is made to ensure the address is current.]

Experience so Far

The above arrangements have been followed in respect of recent publications and potential publications. Some changes have been made as a result but no serious problems have been encountered (except for one recent incident which has led to me to include the italicised note above).

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