Interdisciplinary Research Methods in Technology, Innovation & Policy Studies



Preparatory Work

Prior to the meeting in June 16-17, each student must conduct a series of one to three interviews with actors of cases of innovation and/or policy making and to analyze them in terms of a relevant technical issue to be discussed and solved. A brief 2-page report, with the transcripts of the interviews attached, should be submitted by June 15 for discussion in the Workshops to be included in the Summer School.

"Interview: tales from the field, anatomy of cases of discovery and innovation"

Each student is expected to contribute with an interview about technical change, innovation and/or technology policy, especially in an industry or public policy environment. Please avoid, for this exercise, interviews with experts in academy. Rather, the goal is to attempt working on the “anatomy” of a technological innovation case in a social and economic environment.

The written interviews will be additions to a process of oral collection about technical change and innovation. An oral collection is an important resource for innovation studies research (see, for example, the work of Pierre Latour).

In this context, participants in the Summer School should identify a specific case for research and carefully look for the actors (people, institutions, devices) and materials (facts, stories, pictures) that may contribute for the narrative of the case. Avoid speculations and speeches/personal opinions about innovation theories: the focus should be on the anatomy of the innovation process, focusing on the people and their circumstances (social, historical, other) as well as the facts involved and the social and economic circumstances of the developments along a time line.

Each interview should be a deep semi structured interview with duration around 60 minutes.

Personal stories and career paths of people involved / actors are to be covered. Look also for antecedents and post-events. How did the important ideas appeared? What about technology, business and people relationships? What about money? What about the environment? What is the path dependency? Which were the barriers and the obstacles? Competition and rivalry? What are the networks involved? How did past technological facts, past experiences of the actors and “tradition” influenced the case?

Remember: time is the "glue" of any narrative or story. Things happen along time.

The Case to be selected can be anywhere in the world. If needed, use video interview by Google Talk or Skype and record the interview (there are software tools available for that; easier with audio only, but also feasible with video). But mail / chat interviews based on text will not be accepted.

Final edited interviews should be made available in English language (additional original language versions are optional, for archive). Each participant should also deliver the tape/file record in digital format, for archive, eventually after some basic "cleaning" editing (if needed, but this is always optional).

The interviews should be presented during the Summer School as well as a short analysis grounded on it. Faculty of the summer school will comment and discuss them. Please consider the following details:

  • Try to follow the actors and events as they pop up along the interview.
  • Use tripod or have the camera/smartphone well stable over something to avoid “shaking”. Although you will be not producing documentaries, consider recording the conversations for future use and easier transcription.
  • Transcript: convert from oral discourse to written one, keeping the meaning and richness of the original discourse. But “exact” transcripts of each word or gesture are not our objective.

Each participant must deliver, by June 14, to Elsa Henriques (
A short statement with the justification of the case selected (up to a single page, 500 characters).

  1. A discussion paper, up to 3 pages long (about 6000 characters, with spaces)
  2. An edited transcription of each interview (word file)
  3. A file with the video recording of the interview (to be sent by dropbox, ...), if available.