Paper: Copying informal institutions_Interviews

Project VOICES: Interviews

This page informs about the interviews with a focus on those questions and results published in the article “Copying informal institutions: The role of British colonial officers during the decolonization of British Africa”.

Interviews were conducted between 2015 and 2017. By the time of submission in July 2017, the interviews were still ongoing with 45 interviews used in the paper.

Methods: Mixed methods telephone interviews including oral history together with quantifiable questions. 

Selection: All interviewees were selected upon referral of the Overseas Service Pensioners’ Association (OSPA). About 2,500 officers were still registered with OSPA in early 2016 of which 1,800 had served in African territories. An OSPA employee selected officers from each Africa territory based on availability. No selected officer refused to participate. The author of the study did not interfere with the selection process and was given a list of names including territorial affiliation and contact details. Referral sampling is sometimes also referred to as “networking” method and is used when personal references are needed in order to reach a potential interview partner (Bewley, 2002).

Questions 53 and 74-79 used in the paper

53 “In your opinion, how relevant was the presence of British staff after independence for the local staff when they worked with imported British structures?”

“What were your own experiences?”

74 “Were you offered a compensation payment for loss of career at independence?”

“What were the details therein?”

75 If the officer was offered compensation payment: “How did it influence your decision to leave or to remain in service?”
76 If the officer was offered compensation payment: “How relevant were the conditions offered in the compensation package for your decision to stay or to leave?

Allow time to answer then: “Please use a scale from 1-10. A score of 1 means the compensation payment had no influence whatsoever on your decision. A score of 10 means it highly influenced your decision.”

77 If the officer had children “In hindsight, how relevant was the education of your children for the decision to leave or to stay on?

Allow time to answer then: “Please use a scale from 1-10. A score of 1 means this had no influence on your decision at all. A score of 10 means this was a highly influential factor.”

78 “How relevant was your age and work opportunities outside the colonial service at that time for your decision?

Allow time to answer then: “Please use a scale from 1-10. A score of 1 means age and career options outside the colonial service had no influence whatsoever on your decision. A score of 10 means this highly influenced your decision.”

79 “How did your perspective of the territory’s political future influence your decision to remain in service or to leave?”

Allow time to answer then: “Please use a scale from 1-10. A score of 1 means your perspective on the territory’s future had no influence whatsoever on your decision. A score of 10 means this highly influenced your decision.”

 

Question 53: Experiences of working alongside local staff.

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