This chapter aims to discuss the specificity of the focused or group interview technique in a military context. It deals with factors or questions which affect the research dynamics and results. Among them: the position of the researcher, including his autonomy in the selection of the interviewees and responsibility in the material organization of such interviews; the legitimacy of the groups and the data reliability; the real purpose of the interview; the accounting for non-verbal elements which shape an interview; and the political and social context where the researches take place. This chapter is based on two surveys. The first one (referred to here as UNIFIL research)1 was conducted in 2008-2009 and aimed to describe and to analyse the French perceptions of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) as an organization and as an operation, of their counterparts (the civilian personnel of UNIFIL, the other national contingents) and the local actors such as the Lebanese population, the Lebanese Armed Forces or the Hezbollah. This study used data from 120 questionnaires2 collected among three units who came back from Lebanon3 in 2007, 2008 or 2009. Nine collective interviews were also conducted in April 2008, May 2008 and June 2009. In total, there were 27 soldiers, 31 non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and 16 officers involved. In each regiment, three panels for the three ranks stood out: soldiers, NCOs and officers.4 All the people interviewed were designated by their own regiment to represent the panels. The second survey (Haddad et al. 2006) concerned the joint-services reform launched in 2004 by the French Ministry of Defense (MoD). Through the study of this reform (referred to here as joint-services research), we examined how the question of cultural diversity inside the French Armed Forces is managed. As a matter of fact, jointness brings into contact the various French services. But in spite of being legitimated by the political, strategic and operational changes, it faces some resistances due to clashes with the concerned actors’ identities, practices and representations. This research, involving semi-structured interviews, was conducted in 2004-2005 in military places, including: 26 individual interviews and one focus group. This unique focus group was composed of six Army officers,

three Navy officers, three Air Force officers, one Gendarmerie officer and one from the Services. The group interview was conducted at the War College5 where all the officers were trainees. Both research projects underline the fact that professional and cultural diversity is experienced within the armed forces through the interservices integration or jointness process and within the multinational context during overseas operations and peacekeeping missions such as UNIFIL. Both studies also deal with the concept of culture or, to be more precise, with the cultural encountering or intercultural relations. Adopting, here, a dynamic approach, culture is ‘a result of the analysis and not a given data’ (Izard 2002: 191). It is all the more true that cultures exist only when confronted with one another. Culture (and identity) ‘is a matter of self-ascription and ascription by other in interaction’. So the ‘critical focus of investigation from this point of view becomes the [ethnic] boundary that defines the group, not the cultural stuff that it encloses’ (Barth 1998: 6 and 15).