Multiple Informant Methodology: A Critical Review and Recommendations

Stephan M. Wagner, Christian Rau, and Eckhard Lindemann, Sociological Methods & Research 2010 38: 582-618.

The value of multiple informant methodology for improving the validity in determining organizational properties has been increasinglyrecognized. However, the majority of empirical research still relies on single (key) informants. This is partly due to the lack of comprehensive methodological narratives and precise recommendations on the application of this important methodology. Therefore, the authors have developed a critical review and derived clear recommendations for the key challenges that researchers face in using multiple informants: (1) Which and how many informants should be considered? (2) How should the consensus among the informants be judged? (3) How are multiple responses combined into a single, organizational response to conduct further data analyses?

Key Words: multiple informant methodology • informant selection • interrater agreement • aggregation • organizational properties

Stephan M. Wagner

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, stwagner@ethz.ch

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