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Definition of Informant

(noun) An individual that shares knowledge with a researcher from an insider’s perspective, particularly for ethnographic research.

Example of Informant

  • The Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator at a domestic violence shelter that facilitates access to staff members and volunteers for research purposes.

Informant Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: in·for·mant

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /in-fOR-muhnt/
  • British English – /in-fAWm-uhnt/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ᵻnˈfɔrm(ə)nt/
  • British English – /ɪnˈfɔːm(ə)nt/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: informants
  • A type of individual.
  • The terms “informant” and “respondent” are often used interchangeably. However, they are separate terms. “Informant” connotes qualitative research and “respondent” connotes quantitative research.
  • A key informant (also called gatekeeper) is a primary source for an ethnographic researcher that often enthusiastically shares information and facilitates access to other people.
  • Also called:
    • participant
    • source
  • An informant (verb) informs and is an (noun) informer.

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Additional Information

Related Terms


Spradley, James P., and David W. McCurdy. 2008. Conformity and Conflict: Readings in Cultural Anthropology. 13th ed. Boston: Pearson Education.

Cite the Definition of Informant

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “informant.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved July 18, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/informant/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

informant. (2014). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/informant/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “informant.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed July 18, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/informant/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“informant.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 18 Jul. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/informant/>.