Touching the Bones: Interviewing and Direct Observational Studies of Congress

Ross K. Baker

in The Oxford Handbook of the American Congress

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199559947
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

 Touching the Bones: Interviewing and Direct Observational Studies of Congress

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David R. Matthew's U.S. Senators and their World has set the standard on the interview-based approach on congressional studies. Since its publication fifty years ago, Matthew's approach has contributed to the understanding of Congress. However, interview-based research is relatively unexplored, illustrating the difficulty of conducting this type of research. This article discusses interview-based and direct observational-based studies on Congress. It reviews the contributions of the most influential works, which relied on interview material. It examines the works of David Matthew, John W. Kingsdon, C. Lawrence Evans, Richard L. Hall, Richard F. Fenno, and Nelson Polsby. The article also addresses some of the practical problems of interviewing members of Congress. It also addresses why these interviews form a distinct, elite category.

Keywords: interview; Congressional studies; Congress; interview-based researches; direct observational-based studies; interviewing

Article.  9452 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Political Economy

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