Qualitative Methods



Author(s): Ada Cattaneo  

The paper presents a qualitative method used to find and analyze social, cultural, emotional, psychological factors in experiencing leather. The proceeding phases are five. The first is aimed to portrait the typical characteristics of the interviewees using some appropriate in-depth questions. Knowing the strong pre-judicial power of sight, before going on the two successive phases, the subjects are asked to close their eyes. So, first, they have to recognize the smell of leather saying which images, reminds, emotions it evokes. Then they have to describe sensations, perceptions emotions, feelings, images by touching different samples of leather. The fourth phase is dedicated to sight. Interviewees formulate their opinion about various kinds of leather they saw. Collecting all these findings the 'poli-sensitive' technique offers the occasion of underlining the importance of perceptions and senses in every-day life as tools of socialization, communication and expression.






Author(s): Annalisa Tonarelli

The paper is based on a research about social mobility carried out in Florence and Prato between April 2000 and June 2001. One of the research main aims was to outline the role played by social capital in affecting social mobility individual paths. Consequently, the constitution of both social mobility and social capital have to be analysed like a process. Most than 300 life stories have been collected among a cohort of men and women between forty five and fifty years old. From the methodological point of view such a large amount of biographical interviews represent a very original contribution; at the same time to handle such a relevant quantity of qualitative information is a real challenge. First of all we decided to codify part of the data even if so we loosed part of their richness. Then, according to the main topic of social capital construction and its relation with social mobility path, a most satisfactory solution has been found. Qualitative information about social relations all along life have been taken out of biographies and analysed thanks to RESEAULU. It is a software developed for exploration and analysis of heterogeneous and qualitative collections with internal link between items, textual information and time-dependent data. Mainly RESEAULU allows a continuous exchange between qualitative and quantitative data; this function has been very useful for the analysis of a large number of biographies. At the end it have been possible to identify different models of relational networks and specific patterns, both of them very helpful for a more in depth analysis of the social mobility paths.




Author(s): Anne Ryen

In this paper I discuss the challenges associated with the production of qualitative data in cross-cultural ethnographic research. Main focus is upon the concern with interaction between the researcher model and interviewee responses. A large body of literature exists on the critical distinction between reality, experience and expression. This debate refers to the link between ontology, epistemology and methodology originally as a criticism of structural-functional orthodoxy. Included in this debate we find the criticism of the traditional interviewer model in Western research. Whereas this criticism has taken on a general mode, field experiences seem to invite to a more nuanced contextual distinction of researcher models in cross-cultural research. However, contrasting the ethnographic data with taped talk, the context - not the researcher model, is argued to be crucial to data. In this way, assumptions of culture or ethnicity as a compelling explaining category to the production of data is challenged. Rather, by reference to the impact of the ongoing local interactional work to social reality I argue that there are no "better" answers, only situated answers. The paper draws on ethnographic work in East-Africa and comprises of data from two projects. One refers to local Tanzanian SME businessmen involved in corruption with Local Government. The other offers data from a project on successful Asian businessmen.




Author(s): Antoni Casasempere

In this paper we describe some basic points related with CAQDAS (Computer Aided Qualitative Data Analysis Software) learning and training in Spanish language both in distance learning and in standard seminars or workshops. During last five years we have worked with hundreds of social researchers in Spanish speaking countries and we have looked for proper learning solutions. First we looked for these solutions in the origin, English or German researchers dedicated to teach these topics, in a second stage we realized that we should develop our own solutions adapted to our environment. Some of the basic starting points are described below. First point is related with the idiom topic. These research tools were developed in English, German or Dutch and we have improved solutions that handle this problem. Second point is the necessary computer skills that researchers must have to learn in good conditions. Third point talks about the complexity that the sociological theories carry to this scene like Grounded Theory approach. One final point is related with the inner working of these software tools, besides some common rules, that we describe in this paper, we find some differences that should be taken into account when we plan to learn or teach using these software, research tools.




Author(s): Antonio García-Nieto Gómez-Guillamón

This investigation consists of an analysis of the life history of a small entrepreneur who was born in the twenties of the last century in a locality of the Region of Murcia, in the Southeast of Spain. After he had had several jobs, he founded a cardboard packaging company in 1953. The objective of the survey is to relate the personal aspirations of the company founder to the development and evolution of the company. The founder's personality is influenced by social means where he lives, and also in the cultural characteristics of that society. The study is about how the entrepreneur's family surroundings, his youth, his first jobs, his attitude to life, and his learned values that formed his personality. The study attempts the connection between the entrepreneur's personal ambitions, and the way the company is managed, and how those aspirations affect the company's evolution, and his relationship with the clients, suppliers and employees. There is a significant relationship between the development of a company and the personality of the entrepreneur. The methodology has been based in the Grounded Theory, using WINMAX software for the Qualitative Data Analysis.




Author(s): Antonio Viedma Rojas

Este trabajo es una reflexión metodológica sobre las potencialidades y los límites que la metodología cualitativa aplicada a la investigación social tiene en los espacios de comunicación electrónica. La Red, al manifestarse como un nuevo espacio de creación y circulación del discurso requiere de una reflexión metodológica previa sobre las condiciones materiales que impone a estas prácticas. Por otro lado, la modificación profunda de la forma en que se produce la interacción social en el espacio electrónico, hacen necesario también otra revisión teórica sobre el propio acto comunicativo. En consecuencia, si queremos investigar estos espacios de comunicación electrónica desde el punto de vista sociológico, no podremos olvidar que las condiciones sociales y materiales en las que se produce la interacción, requieren de un esfuerzo epistemológico previo. Así, trascender el texto y el espacio físico más inmediato del emisor del discurso, se convierte, en la práctica, en una condición impuesta por la propia disciplina sociológica.




Author(s): Arturo Álvarez Roldán

Much causal analysis is generated rhetorically, as a series of textual devices. The narrative presupposition (post hoc ergo propter hoc), as well as other devices, provides coherence to informant's narratives. Researchers analyse such narratives in order to find explanations of events, that take the form of new stories. However, the coherence of researcher's narrative accounts depends on the validity of causal analysis. In order to assess causality within a case we have to understand what Abbot has called the "plot"-the events arranged in a loose order. Narratives of different informants show that every event has multiple, intersecting plots: "Every event has multiple narrative antecedents as well as multiple narrative consequences (Abbot)". By doing cross-case analysis more general stories can be produced.

In this paper we will describe a four steps strategy to analyse in-depth interviews by using the programme NVIVO: 1. Coding and memoing; 2. making displays (causal matrices and networks); 3. comparing plots; 4. writing story-like theories. In-depth interviews to adolescents about unwanted pregnancy, drug use and nervous anorexia will be used as examples.




Author(s): Attila Bruni  

In the last years, there is a growing interest in sociology for the role objects and non-human actors perform in everyday life. Whether as machines, information technologies, artworks, commodities or architectures, objects represent nowadays issues of complexity and controversy (Hetherington, Vandenberghe, 2002). Borrowing from actor network theory the idea that humans and non-humans are actively involved in the making of social worlds, there is already who calls for a post-social world and an object-centered sociality (Knorr-Cetina, 1997). But how to observe non-humans? Sociologists are used to socio-constructionist approaches of the sociology of science (MacKenzie and Wajcman, 1999), or to analysis of tools and innovations in terms of networks of actants, in which what is 'human' and what is 'artificial' is a result and not an a priori (Law, 1992); but methodologically, I would argue, indications are still weak. Referring to a four-month ethnography I have conducted in a hospital where a digital clinical record has been introduced, in this paper I will discuss the methodological aspects of shadowing the non-humans. In particular, following Star's insight of an "ethnography of the infrastructure" (Star, 1999), I will concentrate on the way in which gathering data about object's action/interaction challenges one of the core topics of ethnography, namely the question of how to represent contexts characterized by multiple and non-homogeneous actors and practices.




Author(s): Bernt Schnettler

During the last decades a wide range of fruitful qualitative methods has been developed. Yet the focus is predominantly on the analysis of textual data and most of them are inspired by a tradition that is based on texts. However, communication mediated by visual representations is gaining more and more importance in the world of everyday life. Seemingly, there is a large gap between the sophisticated and multiple methods we dispose for textual compared with those we can apply for visual analysis. The paper addresses the question if models of understanding of spoken or written communication can simply be extended to or adapted for visual data or if we need a completely different approach? Therefore I will discuss the potential of two qualitative methods, sociological hermeneutics and the analysis of communicative genres, to lay the bases for the methodology of video analysis.




Author(s): César Cisneros  

The construction of theories by computer is not only an important task in qualitative research, but it has been also a long-standing objective of Artificial Intelligence research since the 1960's. Nowadays, a variety of programs are available, which are proposed as an alternative to code-and-retrieve software and which also had been addressed as 'third generation' software for qualitative analysis in the middle of the last decade. But now we are facing new trends in the design programs, users, tasks and goals. In this presentation the current debate about the theoretical links between qualitative computing and qualitative methods is analyzed. Focusing on the cognitive process involved in theory building the new trends are discussed to highlight the role of conceptualization rather than description. Grounded Theory Approach and Qualitative Data Analysis are the framework to discuss.




Author(s): Constantinos Phellas

There have been several studies of older gay men and lesbians reported in recent years (Adelman, 1990; Francher & Henkin, 1973; Friend, 1987; Gray & Dressel, 1985; Kelly,1977; Kimmel,1979; Lee 1987; Pope & Schulz, 1990; Quam & Whitford, 1992), but essentially all of the respondents in those studies have been White. There is some information about Anglo-Greek gay men in the research literature (Phellas, 2002), but no empirical studies specifically of older men have been published. My discussion in this paper focuses specifically on older Anglo-Greek men resident in London (who have sex with men) because they receive marginal if any attention in the sociological and psychological literature. For the most part, empirical investigations and scholarly work on ethnic minority gay men devote little time or attention to the specific issues relevant to Anglo-Greek men and the ways that ethnicity and racism 'colour' the experience of sexism (Hall& Greene, 1996; Williams, 1999). This paper attempts to examine some of the key cultural concepts and relevant historical factors that may shape the development of Anglo-Greek gay identity. Accounts of sexual identity experiences provided by older Greek Cypriot gay men in London are examined in the light of this analysis to explore how these men negotiate their Anglo-Greek and gay identity. Finally, seven topics from the interview of particular interest to life-span development are reported here: relationship with the family of origin, development of sexual identity, romantic relationships, involvement with the Greek and gay community, midlife issues, historical effects, and discrimination. The impact of HIV & AIDS is also noted in terms of relationships and midlife issues.




Author(s): Christoph Maeder

Sociological ethnographies aim at the readers understanding of the "shared meanings" which regulate and structure social order within the researched field. This understanding of symbolic codes and the related social practice by a reader is based on a text. But before such texts can be written the ethnographer always must look at his field in the very literal sense. What else does participant observation in the strict sense refer to? Fieldwork always means looking at things and people and hence is deeply rooted in the visual aspects of everyday life. One would expect that techniques of visual representation and analysis should therefore be a central methodological issue in the sociological ethnography. But surprisingly they are not. Although traditions as diverse as semiotics, ethnomethodology, symbolic interactionism and material culture studies have fertilized the visuality of ethnographic research, there is a theoretical and methodological lacuna in connecting the spoken with the seen. In my presentation I want to explore and discuss the contribution that concepts stemming from the ethnography of speaking can provide for the ethnography of the visual. Or put in other words: the power of a sentence like "I see what you mean" should add to the further development of ethnographic research methods.




Author(s): David Silverman

Through the work of CA and DA researchers, as well as that of linguistically-oriented ethnographers, a broadly Constructivist programme is starting to assume more importance in qualitative research. Rather than seek to avoid 'bias' through the use of 'neutral' or 'objective' research instruments, this programme treats all research contexts as thoroughly social, interactional occasions (Speer:2002). Given this position, it follows that the default data source for such researchers are those contexts which societal members ordinarily assemble for themselves. Faced with the ubiquity and complexity of such contexts, why would any researcher seek to create a special research setting in order to study members' practices? To those who argue that some members' practices are difficult to access, we can agree but point out that such unavailability is only apparent and based on commonsense assumptions about where phenomena (e.g. 'the family') are to be found. Yet, despite these cogent arguments, 'artificial' research settings, such as interviews and focus groups, have become predominant in qualitative research and even ethnographers usually feel compelled to combine and test their observations by asking questions of informants. In the light of a recent debate in Discourse Studies (4,4,2002), I reassess the value of the concept of 'naturally- occurring' data and its relevance to the programme of qualitative research. Of course, in all research, choice of data must, in part, depend upon our research problem. Equally, there is no question that all polarities should be investigated - particularly where, as here, they involve an appeal to 'nature'. Nonetheless, I show how a cautious use of the concept can serve as an aid to the sluggish imagination - not least when we are tempted to carry out yet another interview study.







Author(s): Diane Grams and Michael Warr 





Author(s): Eeva Luhtakallio






Author(s): Eija Tolvanen

Analysing changes in alcohol use of older people between the years of 1979, 1989, 1999, the association of alcohol use with all-cause mortality, alcohol talks in 40 survey interview episodes with people aged 60-89 years, and in 181 biographical interview episodes with people aged 90 or over, this paper examines how older people's alcohol use was constructed in the quantitative and qualitative approaches - in the context of social ageing. The survey data and transcripts of survey interview episodes come from the Tampere Longitudinal Study on Ageing. Survival data were obtained from the National Population Register. Biographical interviews were conducted in 1995-96 by the Vitality 90+ project. The qualitative data were analysed by employing the ideas of social constructionism and discourse analysis. In most surveys, older people's alcohol use has been seen as a problem, either as a social problem, alcohol abuse or a health risk. This approach represents the patronising ideas of old public health ideologies. In the context of social ageing, the increase in alcohol use is seen to reflect broader changes that have taken place in ageing in Finland. The idea of patronising moderately drinking older people does not get support from the qualitative data, nor from mortality analysis, either.




Author(s): Elif Kus 

There are two different approaches to quantitative and qualitative distinction in social sciences. These two approaches provides two different ways to researches: to see quantitative and qualitative distinction as a technical distinction and use one of them or both of them according to their research subjects or to see this distinction as a paradigmatic based methodological distinction and do not use them in a same research but use them as different researches. Denzin, Lincoln and Guba are leading representatives of the latter approach. According to them, quantitative and qualitative methods cannot be combined. In our research, following Denzin, Lincoln and Guba we assumed that quantitative and qualitative methods indicate two different research areas. So we have conducted two separate researches both using interview as a data gathering method. We hypothesized that "The data and the findings of these two different types of techniques which have different point of views will be different". In order to test the hypothesis, two different researches have been made on the same subject, which is to find out identity of Turkish Cypriot students. First, survey interview has been used in a quantitative research and then focus group interview has been used in a qualitative research. In survey interview, 30 university students were interviewed and in focus group 6 students were interviewed. During the survey interview, a structured questionnaire was used to gather objective data although in focus group interview open-ended questions were used to reveal understandings of participants.




Author(s): Emilia Chengelova 

Since the very first time when the group interview was introduced as one of the reliable research methods the debate about cognitive significance of two major groups of methods (qualitative and quantitative) remains one of the most violent methodological discussion. Many arguments have been quoted and a variety of theories have been elaborated in order to point out every possible advantage and weakness both of qualitative and quantitative methods. Even a vague review of the methodological discussion has been held during last decade indicates that the basic result of all scientific disputes undertaken is nothing more but creating of artificial withstanding of qualitative and quantitative methods. What we do all the time is adducing new arguments demonstrating "the unique power" of one or another method. By approaching to methods issue in such manner we concentrate our efforts on providing additional methodological reasons explaining our giving preference to qualitative or quantitative methods. It's obvious that this kind of methodological reflection could be extremely esteemed in terms of further elaboration of methods and clarifying case s of relevant implication. What seems to be much more fruitful approach is to reveal the power of parallel usage of qualitative and quantitative methods. Imagine what could be done if all the pluses of focus group discussions will be combine with strong features of national survey. If qualitative methods allow to getting the answer of "What and Why" something has happened, survey through interview provides the numbers indicated the statistical significance of the phenomena studied and giving the answers of another type of questions -Who, How many, How often. Recently conducted Electoral Behaviour Studies in Bulgaria (1999-2002) could be considered as a serious methodological success in terms of relevant combining of qualitative and quantitative methods. On the first stage of the studies National Survey has been conducted. In order to get some insights about electoral predisposition and partialities for candidates proposed the methods of focus group discussions and in-depth interview have been applied. Additional information about structure of the electoral attitudes has been collected through content analyses of the sociological publications over the national media. By combing all these methods a closer access to respondents has been achieved. But the most important was that the reliable information about electoral behaviour has been gained and accurate prognoses have been done.




Author(s): Erja Saurama

The paper describes the methodological solutions I have made when studying the recent history of child protection in Helsinki, Finland. The problem was: How to study history with a microscope. Taking children into custody implies a serious ethical dilemma: the role of the parents and the integrity of the family are infringed. The research material is the documents, "acts" of the children who were clients in Helsinki Child Protection Agency during three decades, 1950-1980. I selected conflict cases of the agenda of the delegation of the Agency. The dispute is described both diachronically and synchronically: how the definition of a reluctant case changed and how some particular cases came to be classified as reluctant. I described the method of selecting the material as "zooming". The number of the total client documents was 274 from which 61 cases were sampled. These were divided into five groups representing different practices or policies of child protection. One case from each group was selected for closer scrutiny. Before that those five cases were reproduced as narratives. The analysis method complies with actantial and modal-theoretical studies made in semiotic sociology. The interpretative and theoretical frame of reference relies on a Foucauldian research tradition and relevant background theories, too.




Author(s): Estrella Gualda Caballero

This paper, with the assistence of Quantitative and Qualitative Software (SPSS, Kwalitan and Atlas ti), makes an exploratory analysis about the interethnic relations between immigrants groups from different nationalities resident in Huelva (Andalusia - Spain). Several groups with immigrant population were recorded and analysed with the software, specifically "social discourses" about others ethnic groups. A double triangulation was applied combining qualitative and quantitative data and software -SPSS, Atlas ti and Kwalitan-. It was found that: there were interethnic relations based on conflict and groupal competitivity; the most negative discourses pointed the African population (especially Moroccans -men-) and this discourse came from the statements of immigrants from other nationalities; there was very few statements and opinions about some groups of women (from Moroc and Algerian, for example), though they were a representative resident immigrant group in Huelva.




Author(s): Florian Menz

Business enterprises - like probably all organisations - have to cope with continuously changing environmental conditions. Thereby they are exposed to numerous risks which primarily have to be handled interactionally. Previous approaches of organisational communication put their focus one-sidedly either on a managerial perspective of the organisation - and hence produced primarily affirmative models - or they overlooked restraints to which also the powerful are exposed within institutions. In my paper I would like to present a new model of double balance (Menz 2000) which allows for a more adequate description of the different and differing communicative demands on employees in organisations. The first balancing act has to cope with the tensions arising between hierarchical structures (power) and (self-organisational) interests of the persons involved, the second has to do with the ubiquitous dilemma arising between the pursuit of stability on the one side and of flexibility on the other side. The tension created by this struggle builds contingencies. On the basis of a qualitative analysis of tape-recorded and transcribed interaction I will show that the adequate mode to handle contingencies is to increase and decrease linguistic ambiguity and vagueness cyclically, which is done in self-organising communicative action. The collection of very rich data, consisting of participant observation over a period of 6 months, the tape-recording with three different tape-recorders, the transcription of more than 100 hours of conversation in various settings (formal, informal), and the integration of both written notes and internal electronic mails allow for a differentiated and innovative theoretical model for the description of discourse analytic data within business enterprises.




Author(s): Francesc Josep Miguel Quesada

This paper presents an interviews analysis model, according to the aim of using multivariate data techniques over qualitative codification of a corpus of interview generated texts. In the context of a research on technologic devices consumption, a kind of conceptual mapping of the representation for home PCs is build up from the coding of a set of interviews. In the first part, I present -as preliminary condition of textual analysis- a model for checking "homogeneity" of lexical corpus, in order to compare different interviews. In the second part, I give a brief insight to the process of building up conceptual maps through the identification of the analogical units of reference to the device. That is to say, the interviews were coded (using ATLAS/ti) in order to seek analogies between PCs and other devices, in a "grounded theory fashion" and then it was applied a main component factor analysis, and a correspondence analysis (using SPSS) that helps in identifying the dimensions of representation. As two theoretically consistent dimensions arise from this analysis, the combination of qualitative and quantitative methods helps in mapping the interviews -and the subjects- on a bi-dimensional space of representation, or "conceptual map". This model even helps in analyzing the evolution, or "conceptual path" of the subjects, because of the nature of this interviews made in different time to each individual.





Author(s): Francesca Odella

In the last decade, the concept of social capital has attracted the interest of social scientist and the extensive theoretical and empirical researching concentrated among other topics, on the issue of operationalization of the concept. Part of the attention has also been paid to the opportunity to combine information referring to structure and content of social relations. Relaying on these large theoretical issues, the paper focus on the methodological implications of the use of different research strategies and the combined use of qualitative and quantitative methods. In particular, the paper will rely on examples and results from empirical researches on the role of social capital for the management of environmental issues. The attempt is to compare different applied field strategies and to evaluate their reliability and accuracy in catching relational and cultural aspects of social capital. Problems of measurement and constraints in data collection and analysis, as well as descriptions of the modus operandi on the field will also be proposed to the attention of the participants. The paper contributes to the development of qualitative methods describing how qualitative and quantitative methods (case studies, interviews and content analysis, correspondence and factor analysis) can be used for exploring dimensions related to specific sociological concepts.




Author(s): Galina Saganenko  

Possibilities of DISCANT are of three main modes related to some types of text. (1) DISCANT gives a tool for preparing an 'external' description of similar textual (for example, a set of Mass Media articles) or other units/objects, by making a DISCANT data base through forming 'co-ordinates' - fields of numerical, textual, mixed (textual/numerical or numerical/textual) nature and entering notes there about each unit. (2) DISCANT works very well with a complicate scheme of sets from 'cut' texts. DISCANT gives possibility to pack data as a data base with different types of fields, to make 'interim' classification of the texts by optimal, iterative, corresponding, evidential manner, to receive textual (qualitative) and numerical (statistical) evidences about dimensions 'hidden' and 'erased' within the texts. (3) DISCANT possesses good possibilities to manipulate with a set of long, 'plain' (non-structurized) texts (documents) by : (a) imputing primary textual files as a data base into DISCANT and then forming general 'co-ordinates' and extracting their contents within each document; (b) The best way is to manage with textual units without preparing primary word files but from the beginning by entering textual documents as a DISCANT data base according to a researcher's preliminary notes about structurizing the documents and distributing their fragments into proper fields. DISCANT permits then to erase up the texts into their primary states. The researcher has a number of possibilities to 'clean' the text's structure, its co-ordinates, and the co-ordinates' contents in each document.




Author(s): Giampietro Gobo

From the sixties, after Berger and Luckman's famous book (1966), the expression "social construction of reality" has been so widespread in sociology that it has almost become a slogan. At that time this expression played an important role in order to state the conventional nature of reality and pointed out new perspectives in the analysis of society. However, today, if we want to describe in detail and explain the actual processes of construction of reality, the term "social" seems too vague, superficial, imprecise, useless. More recently new theoretical perspectives have appeared: sociolinguistics, ethnography of speaking, discourse analysis, conversation analysis. They try to describe and explain more precisely the making of believes about reality through a detailed analysis of language, discourses and everyday life conversations in organizational settings. Through a detailed analysis of participants' conversations of a videotaped trial-court for sexual arrassment, the author shows how the judges' decision (the outcome) and their believes about what was the reality (the incident or event whom four young men are prosecuted) are not simply a product of a social construction but mainly the consequence of a linguistic/discoursive activity.

Key words: discourse analysis, trial, decision making.

Preferred sessions: Discourse analysis or Video-analysis




Author(s): Giuseppina Pellegrino

The paper is conceived as a re and de-construction (or, according to Van Maanen's definition, a 'confessional tale') of a doctoral thesis in progress, concerning Intranet technology and based on qualitative methods. The present work illustrates the role of ethnography in drawing the research path and the integration with a comparative approach, applied to two different companies in Italy and the UK. What profile of comparative work is possible using a constructivist and ethnographic approach? Problems and challenges of a 'comparative ethnography', with reference to the uniqueness and peculiarity of any organizational context, are presented and discussed. Ethnography as insight into the actors' practices is analysed with reference to processes of implementation and use of Intranet technology in the two companies. Furthermore, the observation of two different linguistic and cultural contexts allowed the researcher to experience the condition of the stranger (cf. Schutz, 1964) peculiarly. Also, issues about realistic and confessional tales (Van Maanen, 1988) are presented with reference to the ethnographic account as meta-narrative practice. The problem of comparing assumptions of the theoretical framework with recurrent themes on the field, keeping alive the polyphony of actors' discourses (Czarniawska-Joerges, 1997) is another point discussed in the paper.




Author(s): Guennady Kanyguine

Computer-assisted interviewing systems, packages for qualitative data analysis and text processing software are contemporary computer tools which express in computer terms features of corresponding research techniques, i.e. survey study, qualitative research, content analysis. Can we imagine a basic methodology that could provide different computer tools used in social study with integrated background? To suggest such methodology we consider problem of concepts' ambiguity that inevitably arises in sociological methods. Within our approach this problem assumes form of data partition principle. According to the principle any social data, considered as an embodiment of research notions, are represented as a conjunction of two components - metaphoric and quantitative. The former expresses 'associating' properties of a concept regardless of its possible ambiguity. The latter imitates the 'scientific' shape of metaphor, i.e. conventionally adopted by all actors involved in social study (researchers, respondents, etc.). To implement the principle constructively we introduce conceptions of: metaphor (ambiguous notion), primitive (predefined metaphor), quantitative concept (unambiguous notion), metaphors' associating as procedure of their definition, context of metaphor usage, etc. The partition data principle generalizes the known opposition of the question and the answer proposed by S.Sudman and N.Bradburn with purposes of cognitive analysis of survey methodology. The proposed approach is implemented programmatically as a number of classes and components of object-oriented programming environment. These program structures could constitute a problem-oriented core for software of different types used in social study.




Author(s): Guillermo Ospina

La aplicación de tecnologías informáticas en la antropología social se plantea como una estrategia innovadora para la sistematización y puesta en escena del conocimiento local en una era de comunicaciones y acceso a la información. A partir del trabajo multidisciplinario de tres grupos de investigación adscritos a la Universidad del Cauca (Grupo de Estudios Sociales Comparativos (GESC), Grupo de Ingeniería Telemática (GIT), Grupo de Estudios Ambientales (GEA), se presentan los resultados de un año de trabajo alrededor de tres muestras etnográficas (veredas) representativas de la diversidad sociocultural y ambiental del municipio de Balboa, partiendo del supuesto fundamental de que el conocimiento local consignado en la memoria de la población campesina, no ha sido reconocido como un sustento importante en la identidad de Balboa y la región. Los resultados de esta investigación buscan incidir en procesos educativos y de planificación regional, con una propues! ta innovadora que integra el conocimiento de la población local y el trabajo multidisciplinario en un sistema de información, diseñado como el mecanismo adecuado para permitir que el saber tradicional pueda ser organizado sistemáticamente para su consulta, actualización y modificación como base informática en la aplicación pedagógica y en la toma de decisiones.




Author(s): Guri Mette Vestby

In my paper I will discuss analytical challenges and ethical issues with reference to the different steps of a research process based on traditional qualitative methods applied on school visits, combined with computer-based methods applied on "digital classrooms". The focus of my analyses is the reconstruction of social roles and social relationships in schools when information- and communications technology (ICT) are used in innovative ways. LMS -Learning Management System - as a kind of multifunctional intranet used in schools, gives me as an invited guest an opportunity to observe, read, "listen", ask, interact and participate. The actors have, in a general way, consented to these accessibility, - but the question is if this can be classified as an informed consent and if differences between children and adults as research objects create a need for specific considerations. Compared with "real presence", this "electronic presence" makes me more like an invisible observer and supervisor who continuously may analyse the active or archived products of the actors' work and communication. These multi-methodological data-collection raises new challenges about the way to analyse the different kinds of human expressions and interactions and the way to act corresponding to scientific ethical standards.




Author(s): Hsin-Jen Chen  

This article examines the evolution of local decision-making at school level in a Taiwanese primary school. The mechanism of decision-making at local school has been facing a number of internal and external challenges which have transformed the core of school operation. This article identifies three stages of decision-making at school level: school- level decision-making used to be called 'school affairs meeting' in which all members of teaching and senior staff were entitled as commissioners to participate in and vote for pros or cons. The second stage was the establishment of school-level teacher association which had the right to negotiate with senior staff, including the head, according to the Taiwanese 1994 Teacher Act. At this stage, most school-level decision-makings had been done through both sides' negotiation while conflicts were often to be found between two camps. In 1999, the Education Act had been revised to allow parent representatives to take part in the on-site decision-making processes of the school, which has brought some covert conflicts between parents and professionals due to diverse interests. This study employs an ethnographic case-study approach to investigate the recent evolution of on-site decision-making, combined with documentary analysis, participant observation and semi-structured interviews. The research project suggests that the headteacher, as the leading figure of the school, should engage in more informal negotiations with trilateral camps (i.e. senior administrators, teaching professionals and parents) so that he could lead the processes of decision-making successfully.




Author(s): Hubert Knoblauch

Audiovisual data have been proliferating in recent years, and a gorwing number of studies are based on this kind of data. The wide use particularly of video data has, however, not been paralleled by the sophistication of methods in this field. In fact, the discussion of methods in this field falls massively short of the importance of this data within social research. In this paper a number of methods are delineated which address the analysis of video. Among these methods, interactional video analysis will be described in somewhat more detail. The shortcomings of this method will be indicated, and it will be shown that this kind of analysis provides a promising method.




Author(s): Jaime Andréu Abela, José F. Ortega Ruiz and Ana Mª Pérez Corbacho

In this paper we will present the influence that indicator of the newspapers (headline and the news) it can to exert about the surveys, especially on the Andalusian Social Survey, carried out by the Foundation Center of Andalusian Studies. For that we consider the results of the cuestion of the survey that it related with the valuation of the mass-media and we at it put with the information of the headline of the newpaper and the most representative opinion articles in the last three moths of the newspapers ABC, El País and El Mundo Our work hiypothesis was guided so that we can check it the people that is more informed in politics and present situation has got a perception different of this people that is not informed, for this we established it like the form of they affect about their opinion on the valuation of the politicians´ trust. The data that were used for our study are so much of quantitative type, related with the results of the Andalusian Social Survey, and of qualitative type with the headline and opinion articles of the newspapers already mentioned in the last three months. The metodology that we had used for the attainment of our objetives was of triangulation and analysis of segmentation of data. The quantitative analysis ones by means of the program SPSS 11, and the qualitative data by means of the program ATLAS.ti.




Author(s): Jari Luomanen  

The use of software tools in qualitative research has been rather extensively debated in the academic community. Fears have been expressed that the software tools might only facilitate a limited number of methodological approaches and researchers often express concerns over these issues. As the software packages continue to develop and become increasingly versatile, it is an essential part of researchers' professional skills to find and utilise appropriate products and functions. Implementing various methodological approaches such as discourse analysis or conversation analysis with the software tools and observing the characteristics of the programs from this perspective is therefore of great importance. In this presentation a case will be presented regarding qualitative analysis done in a research project called "Media and everyday life". In the project media and communication technologies are studied as a part of the fabric of every day activities. The main analytic approach in the project is discourse analysis. Adapting a QSR NVivo project to facilitate this analysis will be discussed. These themes will be explored in relation to general methodological issues of qualitative research as well as the practical concerns that a researcher may encounter when using software dedicated to qualitative analysis. Thus, methodological concerns that give shape to research practises and the interaction between research setting, method and the software tool are in the focus of the presentation.




Author(s): Jens Zinn

Besides the well-known research strategies - the analysis of biographical life-stories and the quantitative and standardized investigation of life courses - there are a number of research projects situated between the usual quantitative structure-oriented life-course tradition and the qualitative subject-oriented biographical research paradigm. The approach of this studies is summarized under the label "biographical action". The conceptional and methodological implications will be explained and the differences to the traditional approaches of biographical research will be outlined. The approach of "biographical action" focuses on the question which modes or logics of action take place on the basis of past experiences and with regard to an expected future under the special conditions of the present. The research strategy will be outlined by the example of a typology of biographical action.






Author(s): Laura Verdi




Author(s): Leonor Gómez Cabranes 

Qualitative research is characterized, among others features, by flexibility and proximity. Flexibility and absence of control on the part of the research are shaped in open and little or nothing structured data collection techniques. The condition of proximity to the object, get the researcher personally involved in the fieldwork. The confluence of these characteristics limits the size of the sample, which does not follow the criterion of the number of units, but those of the wealth of information and level of saturation. Nevertheless, in practice, the researcher may not always apply these criteria. Sometimes is the sponsor who settles down certain requirements. In other cases, it is a research team combining quantitative and qualitative techniques, the first ones giving their style to all the work. The question is that the researcher sometimes confronts the problem of doing qualitative analysis with secondary, massive and semi-structured data. In these cases, software for qualitative analysis seems revealing itself as an essential tool. In this paper, the use, in four research projects, of two software packages (Knosys and Atlas-ti) is analysed. The superiority of specific software for qualitative analysis is demonstrated by the possibility of generating semantic networks, which allow the emergency of grounded theories, even starting from unfavourable conditions for qualitative analysis.






Author(s): Lucio Iaccarino  

This paper aims at the analysis of the cultural production of normalised social groups through Gramsci's standpoint of the analysis of meanings in the classification of different forms of communication of political parties, formal associations, no-profit organisations. Our research offers an interpretation of the Gramscian theory of cultural meanings applied to the 1996 onward cultural production of Lega Nord case study, allowing the audience to verify the epistemological potentialities of the theoretical structure and to enter directly into the core of our presentation. The observation of Lega Nord discourses, thus, inscribes Gramsci's theory into the different levels of philosophical, ideological, traditional, common sense, and mentality production as understood as a major to a minor scale of complexities. The investigation of empirical cases permits the accumulation of an articulated range of meanings, in accordance to the coherence of sources. This method relates to the qualitative research as it aims at the classification of data and at the acquisition of information through in depth or semi-structured interviews, or at the analysis of documental sources. This method also allows to show the limits of the theoretical framework, while rendering intelligible the researcher categories of study, combining the qualitative survey with structural analysis.




Author(s): Manuela Olagnero 

The subject of this paper is the innovative contribution of Life Course Research to the theory and practice of qualitative research. Life Course Research is a current arising from the biographical approach which originated during the 1960s in America, and in the 1980s appeared in Europe as well, particularly Germany. It is interesting from several standpoints, not only methodological but also analytical and applicative. Life Course Research primarily means biographical study as a resource for multilevel analysis, describing and explaining not only models of individual development, but also the working mechanisms of institutions which regulate these models within specific historic and social contexts. Secondly, Life Course Research is a truly interdisciplinary approach, promoting dialogue with other social sciences that investigate the rapport between individual and social change, such as social psychology, anthropology, social history, and historical demography. Thirdly, Life Course Research integrates various methodologies for collecting and analysing longitudinal data, both at the quantitative and qualitative, retrospective and prospective levels. Finally, it enhances and stimulates the organisation, also for social analysis purposes, of process produced data (for example data produced by welfare agency archives), which are an invaluable source in the ongoing analysis of particular careers such as poverty and social deprivation.




Author(s): Marco Marzano

Doing ethnographic research on terminally ill patients raises a large number of issues that should be carefully discussed: 1. How can one tell the truth when everyone else is telling lies? In cultural contexts like Italy, where cancer patients in the advanced stage of the disease are not aware of the prognosis in their regard, it is extremely difficult for an ethnographer working with those patients, and who wishes to interact with them on a daily basis, to avoid deceiving them with lies. At the same time, it seems difficult to justify deceitfulness on ethical grounds if it is used with persons who are already stigmatized and weakened by illness. 2. How can one justify 'mere observation' in settings where people are suffering and dying? Some health practitioners (doctors or nurses) may regard the ethnographer's work as morally suspect, likening it to a form of 'scientific voyeurism'. How can this risk be avoided? 3. How should the ethnographer respond to 'pleas for help' made by the cancer patients? During his/her fieldwork, the ethnographer may receive requests for help to which its difficult to respond without interrogating the 'meaning' of his/her presence in the fieldwork setting and the purpose of his/her work. The paper addresses these questions starting from the author's personal experience of conducting research on terminal cancer patients in Italy.




Author(s): Marie Buscatto

When doing ethnography, one constantly oscillates between involvement and detachment, implication and distanciation (Elias N., 1956; Hughes E., 1971). Getting involved helps have access to people's behaviors and ways of thinking while constant reflexivity might guide a rigorous conceptualisation drawn from "collected data" (Glaser B.G., Strauss A.L., 1968). Observing people at work is in no way different. However, organizational realities create some specific epistemological issues. Power relations as well as hierarchical structures highly influence the way people view the observer and interact with her in big organizations - enterprises, associations, administrations or political parties. We will thus discuss some epistemological issues which may arise when doing organizational ethnography, based on our study in a big insurance company (Buscatto M., 2001). How does the way one enters an organization (hidden or with top management's help, as a participant worker or as a researcher) affect workers' behaviors as well as the type of observations one may be allowed to? Which frames of analysis (Goffman E, 1974) may be negotiated through interaction and how does it affect reflexive work? In which way may sociological restitutions nourish observer's theorisation? Those questions (and others) might structure our presentation if our proposal is accepted.




Author(s): Mario Cardano

At first sight it might seem that objectivity and reflexivity had little to do with each other. Reflexivity is a term often associated with post-modern thought which sees itself as offering a radical alternative to the "myth of objectivity". Vice versa, objectivity is commonly championed by those who consider reflexivity little more than vacuous navel-gazing. In this essay I argue that reflexive practices can contribute to the objectivity of ethnographic research. I focus first on the construction of objectivity to clarify who constructs what. I then tackle the question of the criteria adopted within the sociological community to evaluate the plausibility of ethnographic statements. I consider two positions in particular: the stance which claims that the same criteria ought to be applied to ethnographic research as are used to assess quantitative research, and the opposing stance which suggests specific criteria are needed. In this last methodological area reflexivity plays a relevant role. I examine the merits but also the problems with the reflexive solution: the risk for the object to be left in the shadows, and the more insidious problem of reflexive accounts mendacity. I argue that these two problems are not specific to ethnographic research. I also suggest some remedies which can be applied in the ethnographic context. This leads to reconceptualisation of the relationship between the reflexive solution to the problem of objectivity and approaches to objectivity adopted elsewhere in the social sciences. I make some critical remarks on the notion of method, and use these as the basis for a conception of method which does not see it as a collection of rules which act like orders, but rather as a set of principles, which may - or better - must be interpreted differently according to the context (for example, qualitative rather than quantitative research). I focus on the principle which I believe is the most influential, the principle of objectivity, understood as "mensuratio ad rem", as adequacy to the things under study. I interpret various procedures of validation used in social research as different applications of the same principle - the principle of objectivity. I conclude with an exercise intended to show that, in terms of principles, procedures used to construct objectivity in survey research (based on notions of validity and reliability) correspond to those used for the same purpose in ethnographic research and documented by reflexive accounts. More in general, I maintain that the way the "set of operations" is laid out for the reader's examination when ethnographers present their representation of the object offers the scientific community all the elements it needs to assess objectivity.




Author(s): Marius Domínguez   

This paper presents and assesses the methodological approach used in the research "Time, work and flexibility: a gender question" (Instituto de la Mujer, España, 2002). In the first phase of the research, we carried out a survey to collect the quantitative aspects about the activity of women and men. The quantitative technique was carried out through a labour force survey and a time use study. Our aim was to obtain the interrelation among mercantile work, domestic family work and free time. In a second phase, we combined the obtained information in the quantitative phase with interviews in depth to women and men of different family types. Their objective was to emphasize in subjective aspects (perceptions, desires, etc.) of the family organization: how and why the times are organized and what types of conflicts appear. The results show the potentiality of this methodology in the analysis of the activity of women and men, although their limitations are also pointed out. The combination among qualitative and quantitative methods has allowed to develop those aspects difficult to collect through a questionnaire. These difficulties are related with the organization of the time and subjective elements such as quality of life, intensification of the time, simultaneity of activities, invisible activities that significantly contribute to the gender inequalities.




Author(s): Milena Gammaitoni

The use of the concept of empathy, to analyse a life story, leads to a new definition of the concepts of science, sociology, historicity where the empathic relationship is handled between the interviewer, the interviewee and his story. Collecting life stories is something based on an intersubjective relation where a hermeneutics of interaction is defined. The earlier researches, based on the method of life stories, studied marginal groups, "inferior" if compared to the origins of the researcher himself. This way collecting the life story of a conductor breaks the traditional lines of research. I will start my reflection dealing with the method of historical and social science first. I will also refer to the art theories (Herder, Novalis, Scheler, Worringer: the empathic value of arts), to the existentialism (Edith Stein: the empathizing of empathy), phenomenology (Alfred Schutz: empathic knowledge). I will focus my attention on the life story, and most specifically on the musical evolution of the conductor Blankenburg (that I personally collected in 2001); where I analyse the empathy between her and music, between her vision of music and the relationships with the orchestra musicians, with the audience, critics and the problems she had to face for being one of the first female conductor.




Author(s): Pablo Francescutti, Alejandro Baer and Igor Sádaba

In this paper we will present the results of a qualitative research project on Ecuadorean immigration in Madrid. Ecuadoreans are today the second biggest immigrant population in Spain and the most have arrived in the last 4 years.

The study focuses on the meetings that take place every weekend in the parks of Madrid, where these immigrants unfold a rich variety of social and cultural activities. The study attempts to answer these research questions: a) Is there cross-cultural contact between Spaniards and Ecuadoreans in the use of the public space and can the lack of it result in potential conflicts? b) What´s the park-meetings' role in omaintaining the immigrant cultural identity? The methods used were in depth interviews, life stories of immigrants and ethnographic observation of the park behavior. The research outcome is a 28 minute documentary film with the name "Oasis en Tierra Extraña" ("Oasis in foreign soil"), which will be shown to the participants of the panel.






Author(s): Patricia Bell and Achim Schlüter 

This paper reports on a multi disciplinary ethnography on risk, comparing two ‘petrochemical’ towns in Germany and Britain, and aims to stimulate much needed debate on the methodology of cross-national qualitative research. Despite the methodological challenges of multi-disciplinary binational teamwork and comparative ethnographies we believe this is a powerful tool for progressing knowledge. The project adopted a cross over design (British researcher in Germany and vice versa) to use double defamiliarisation as a way to destabilize taken-for-granted assumptions. Apart from an initial joint design phase both researchers have lived in the field for the duration of the project. The difficulties, for the rest of the team, of “second hand ethnographies” (i.e. of helping to shape the ethnography at one remove) were eased through weekly reports, location visits, quarterly meetings, and technology which ensured team members quick access to all written and transcribed data. Issues around translation have been considerable; in addition a further methodological challenge was presented by the tensions between the relativist logic of ethnographic inductiveness and the generalizing and deductive requirements of comparability. Regular team meetings provided spiraling feedback, including input from outside experts, to steer the project on parallel lines, without losing the scope for pursuing separate lines of enquiry reflecting the individuality not only of the two settings but of the two researchers themselves. The cohesiveness of the analytical structure that has emerged from this dialogue has been aided by cross coding to increase our confidence in the reliability of the final synthesis.





Author(s): Richard H. Floyd

Target Inclusion Model (TIM); a research model designed specifically for use with isolated and or difficult to access populations. Target inclusion is a process of integrating the methodological skills and knowledge of the professional researcher with the context specific skills and knowledge of members of the subject population. The model recruits from individuals from the population at two levels. First, a group of advisors and field supervisors is identified through referral and an extensive interview process. The input and feedback of these research assistants is considered in all phases of design, from instrument development to sampling procedures to selecting a relevant data gathering method. This group serves as intermediaries between the research team and the target population, enhancing the legitimacy of the project. Second, interviewers from the target population are identified and recruited by the field supervisors, then trained by the professional members of the researchers. This secondary group is directly involved in gathering data. The level of identification between interviewer and respondent ensures a level of safety to subjects that encourages more open communication and a greater level of self disclosure. TIM has been field tested four times: Two of these studies have focused on seniors; health care issues. In the largest study, carried out in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada, 450 face-to-face interviews were conducted by seniors with elderly respondents. The results provided a dramatic and otherwise unattainable portrait of the challenges facing the elderly in their dealings with the B.C Ministry of Health.




Author(s): Rodolfo Martínez Gras and Miguel Ángel Mateo Pérez

En esta comunicación se pretende dar una visión clara acerca de las potencialidades y debilidades de la técnica de la entrevista estandarizada autoaplicada a través de Internet. A partir del análisis de datos secundarios y de la realización de estudios empíricos se comprueba que la técnica de la encuesta a través de Internet es una herramienta óptima para la recogida de información en aquellos entornos en los que la población de estudio analizada disfruta de los requerimientos técnicos, infraestructurales, educativos y cognitivos necesarios para obtener resultados que puedan ser extrapolables y que limiten los efectos de los diferentes tipos de muestreo. Este tipo de requerimientos se suelen dar fundamentalmente en determinadas organizaciones. Al mismo tiempo, se observa que la encuesta autoadministrada vía Internet es un elemento de recogida de información óptimo en la aplicación de la triangulación metodológica. En este sentido, esta tipología de encuestas, realizadas bajo los criterios metodológicos y técnicos que competen, deben ser consideradas como un elemento más a tener en cuenta en la combinación metodológica de técnicas cuantitativas y cualitativas. Esta comunicación se ajusta al plantemiento necesario que implica la combinación entre lo cualitativo y lo cuantitativo en la investigación social




Author(s): Ross Koppel, Abigail Cohen and Brian Abaluck

This paper examines the effects of hospital workplace organization and stressors in physicians' medication errors - comparing different methods to investigate the factors associated with faulty medication orders. We conducted: 1) several focus groups and 2) many face-to-face interviews with physicians on their perceived stressors and on perceived sources of medication ordering error. We also 3) observed (shadowed) physicians while they ordered medications via a computer physician order entry (CPOE) system. Last, 4) we systematically surveyed the physicians about medication errors. We also interviewed and observed hospital computer programmers, nurses, pharmacists, administrators, laboratory directors, and senior physicians. We contrast the way these alternative methodologies -- focus groups, observations [shadowing physicians], interview and questionnaires -- elicit differing perceptions from physicians on sources of stress and on sources of error (a distinction made by the subjects - and not in our original research design). We also examine the affect of the differing methodologies on the physicians' willingness to discuss their medication errors. Note that computer physician order entry (CPOE) systems are regarded as a panacea for reducing medication ordering error. We found, however, that the computer systems often facilitated medication errors, and that they were sources of stress and error in themselves.




Author(s): Ruth Wodak

While investigating some European Union Organizations, we attempted an analysis with multiple methodologies. Such an approach could of course be criticized, because the application of diverse concepts, theories and methods is often eclectic, if not well justified and reflected. In my paper, I would like to illustrate that a multi-method approach is adequate if an organization is to be studied in more then one dimension. In investigating the European Commission, the European Parliament and several small expert committees, we applied ethnographic observation, we collected interviews, and tape-recorded authentic and spontaneous meetings. The data were also analyzed with different linguistic methods: textlinguistics, discourse analysis, and frame analysis. I hope to be able to show that complex phenomena can be better understood through multiple methodologies (see Muntigl, Weiss and Wodak 2000; Reisigl and Wodak 2001). Specifically, I will focus on issues of decision making in expert meetings. The drafting of policy papers will serve as an example for recontextualisation and the impact of multilingualism, as well as of structural factors, such as the power of chairpersons etc. Most importantly, I will be concerned with the question why certain turns in a meeting a more "successful", i. e. more persuasive, then others.




Author(s): Salla Tuori

This paper will discuss the ways in which the Other is produced and constituted in ethnography. I will examine recent accounts of Finnish ethnography by reading closely the methodological parts and descriptions of fieldwork. I will also discuss my own ethnographical work-in-progress in an anti-racist women's project in Finland. How do the theoretical challenges of post-coloniality and post-structuralism reach the techniques/practices of knowledge production, in this case ethnography? Feminist ethnography has been concerned with "speaking" and "voices": who speaks in ethnographic accounts, whose voice is heard and, for instance, the difference between speaking for and speaking to (see Spivak 1993 and Ahmed 1998). How does this "speaking" relate to the constitution of the Other, or following Sarah Ahmed, the stranger (as a figure)? Self-reflexivity is seen as one way out of the these dilemmas. If self-reflexivity is taken seriously what kinds of effects does it have on fieldwork? What are the limits of self-reflexivity? Do the demands of self-reflexivity construct the researcher as an always conscious, autonomous subject? My own ethnographical research is, on the one hand, about negotiations on womanhood and race/ethnicity in an anti-racist women's project in Finland, and, on the other hand, about the possibilities for feminist anti-racist work in the Finnish context. My questions concern the different gendered and racialised positions in the everyday-life of the project. How are they visible and how do they interplay with the hierarchies of these positions (including me as white researcher)? Despite of all feminist poststructuralist awareness, the research somehow includes a wish to "let the voices of these women be heard" or maybe a wish to tell a story different to dominant discourses in the society. How do the dilemmas of "speaking" and "voices" relate to my own research?




Author(s): Sam Pryke

The quote within the title of this proposed paper is taken from an email sent to me in 2001 whilst I was conducting research with second generation British Serbs. The paper would seek to address in the light of this completed research the issue of how the researcher should respond when confronted by views within semi-interviews that are simply wrong and/or repugnant. It is not an issue that is directly discussed in the literature on qualitative research. The general convention within the social sciences is, of course, that the researcher should remain neutral, refrain from contradicting the respondent and more generally proffering their opinions. Notwithstanding this, the dilemma I repeatedly faced was that to remain silent whilst respondents attempted to justify, deny or exculpate Serbian atrocities in Croatia and Bosnia (1991-95), seemed to collude in a pernicious sense of perpetual Serbian victimhood. Returning home from interviews on several occasions I felt not only a feeling of disgust that I had allowed this to happen, but a sense that I had abandoned a vital reflexive aspect to qualitative research. However, my attempts to politely object to respondents opinions about the Yugoslav wars in subsequent interviews resulted in fruitless arguments. Therefore, I discovered no 'right way' of coping with the dilemma and my paper would not pretend that there is one. However, it emerged that the interviews in which I felt I had struck a reasonable balance were the ones in which I had established a reasonable rapport with the respondents before entering into questions about the break-up of Yugoslavia. This allowed some kind of probing around responses to questions about atrocity and reduced the possibility of any kind of objection being interpreted as unjust anti-Serbian sentiment.




Author(s): Shalva Weil, Rami Benebenishty and Ron Astor

This paper reports on the ethical issues encountered in an ethnographic study of theoretically a-typical violence in Israeli schools during the school year 2002-3. Fieldwork has been carried out by six researchers from different cultural backgrounds in nine schools (three secular, three religious and three Arab) utilizing participant observation, semi-structured interviews and mapping tools. The ethical issues could be classified on a scale of less-serious to more-serious, which are themselves culture-dependent. At one end of the continuum, there were the daily problems of ethnographers as to whether they should intervene in a fight between students. At the other end of the continuum, there was the dilemma of the field researcher who participated in a school trip, as to whether he should report to the authorities an under-age rapist, who had confided in him the details of the act. The research showed up how much ethical issues can be culture-bound. In one school, drugs may be normative or part of the surrounding culture. In another school, corporal punishment, which is illegal in Israel, is totally 'normal' and even institutionalized. The problem of the field researcher is to confront these issues on a day-to-day basis and decide how to act and whether to intervene.




Author(s): Suzanne Hodge

This paper draws upon the findings of a research project in which Jürgen Habermas's theory of communicative action was applied to a case study of user involvement in mental health policy making in an English city. The research involved the observation and analysis of the discourse of a forum of service users and mental health professionals that had been set up by the key mental health agencies in the city. The tools provided by the discipline of discourse analysis were found to be invaluable in helping to operationalise Habermas's abstract and rather narrow theoretical approach, with its focus on the pragmatic dimension of speech acts. The data lends support to Habermas's analysis of discourse in system contexts as being inherently strategically rational, rather than communicatively rational, that is oriented to mutual understanding. In this paper I use material from the meeting discourse of the forum to show how the communicative impulse is subordinated to the dominant strategic mode of interaction and to illustrate the varied ways in which institutional power relations are exercised and reproduced in such system contexts. I argue that if the valuable insights of Habermas's theory for applied social research are to be harnessed, then a broader set of methodological tools must be adopted than those offered by speech act theory. I conclude that these tools are amply provided by discourse analysis.





Author(s): Sverdrup, Sidsel

The topic in focus in this paper is twofold. Firstly it intends to discuss why a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods is both an advantage and often also a necessity in evaluations that analyze impact and effects of preventive strategies and means. Secondly, based on a case-study, it will be shown how qualitative and quantitative approaches in combination can support one another on some points and fill in each other on others, when impact of such preventive means are analyzed.
Evaluation of impact and effects of preventive means to some extent poses counterfactual questions, and therefore raises a lot of methodological challenges that other kinds of outcome-evaluation will not usually face. One reason is that often control-groups or control-situations do not exist. Put differently it might be difficult to estimate what a situation would have been without preventive means in a situation where they actually are in operation, as well as to estimate the extent of the effects, or what kinds of effects on people's conduct are caused by the means as opposed to what would have happened anyway. In dealing with such impact studies on an empirical level, a combination of different methods is called for. Based on a case-study related to evaluation of an Action Plan aiming to prevent unwanted pregnancy and abortion in Norway during a period of four-years, both challenges and solutions to them, will be illustrated.



Author(s): Tamara Adamiants

The method of intentions-oriented analysis (or motive and goals oriented analysis) of text-messages was worked out within the framework of semio-socio-psychology paradigm elaborated by Russian scientist Tamara Dridze. Specifically, semio-socio-psychology uses the notion of communicative intention understood as resultant force of motives and goals of communication. For the first, the procedure of intentions-oriented analysis method makes it possible to view any text-message (which can be in any semiotic system) as a structure of communicative-cognitive programs which are unites by the author's intention. The levels of this structure: the intention; thesis or theses; arguments for the thesis; illustrations for the thesis, illustrations for the arguments; so-caller "common background" for the thesis, for the arguments, for the illustrations; "common background" for the "common background" and so on. For the second, the procedure of intentions-oriented analysis method makes it possible to view a structure of communicative-cognitive programs of the perception (interpretation) of this text-message by the recipient. By employing this method one can compare the results of these two procedures and come to conclusion about the effectiveness of communication act: the dialogue is a meaning-based exchange between a participators of communication. This method was successful in different spheres: mass-media, education, social diagnostic and social projecting.




Author(s): Thomas S. Eberle

Ethnographic research in organizations has a long tradition, in sociology as well as in anthropology. An overview of these studies reveals that a key issue has always been which theoretical concepts to use when interpreting ethnographic data. Some studies investigated the working relations in a plant room of a factory, thus doing ethnography in an organization. Others tried to capture the whole "culture" of an organization, thus doing ethnography of an organization. A third group of studies tried to link the social processes in organizations to the structures of the society as a whole, using a marxist framework. In recent years, under the influence of ethnomethodology and conversation analysis, empirical studies have more and more restricted their focus solely on interactions and collaborations, face to face as well as by use of information and communication technologies, but neglecting the wider institutional contexts. ‚Studies of work have replaced studies of organizations. This paper argues that we better broaden the scope of ethnographic research again, making organizations a topic in their own right. On the basis of a phenomenologically based sociology of knowledge I discuss methodical, methodological and theoretical issues involved, searching ways how institutional ethnography may look like.




Author(s): Tina Miller

Ethics, to many researchers, has been associated with following ethical guidelines and gaining ethical approval from academic bodies and institutions. However, the complexities of researching private lives and placing accounts in the public arena increasingly raise ethical issues, which are not easily solved by rules and guidelines. This paper will use examples from two pieces of qualitative research to address the gap between research practice and ethical principles and will examine the theoretical and practical aspects of ethical dilemmas. This paper will draw attention to areas that are not always seen as problematic; adding to and expanding much needed ethical debates. The key themes that will be explored are those of responsibility and accountability in applied research practice in relation to access and 'informed' consent and negotiating participation. The paper draws on material from the recently published book 'Ethics in Qualitative Research' (Sage, 2002), which has been co-edited by the presenter.






Author(s): Tom Cockburn




Author(s): Ulla Forseth

This paper sets out to explore gender and power relations between service providers and customers and the ambivalence embedded in service work. I do this by using narrative accounts ("memory work") from employees in banking and the airline industry. Interactions with customers can be seen as a double-edged sword: They can enable the workers to play on many chords when providing high quality service. In this way they can contribute to job satisfaction, immediate feedback and building of identity. Many employees are facing new job demands where they have to do more with scarce resources. The frontline workers can easily become "shockabsorbers" for dissatisfied customers. This ambivalence makes the job stimulating and challenging, yet stressing and strainfull. Using narratives is a fruitful way of bringing "tacit" dimensions, complexities, dilemmas and paradoxes front stage. An important question is therefore whether different categories of employees are morel likely to become "invaded"? The empirical highlights from the collection of narratives demonstrate that transformation of work, increased competition, restructuring and new job demands have changed the work environment of the employees. Put bluntly, employees are expected to provide more feeling and quality service with less resources and time. The actors use various strategies to set boundaries in the interaction with customers, and these are related to context and power resources. The narrative accounts from employees illustrate how gendered discourses of service work and asymmetrical power relations operate. Gender stereotypes are recirculated, but definitions of gender are also open to negotiation and change.




Author(s): Valentina Grassi

The aim of my research work was to analyse sociological methods at CEAQ (Centre d'Etude sur l'Actuel et le Quotidien), which is a qualitative research laboratory at La Sorbonne-Paris 5 University. Michel Maffesoli directs this Centre. I red many doctorate theses of the Centre realising that the most utilised research method is in-depth interviews (either semi-directives or non-directives). These interviews are trending towards social uses and practices which refer to everyday life of social actors. Their peculiarity is to stimulate a dynamic conversation sticking to the subject. The issue of interviews is to describe a phenomenon as it appears to social actors and not to construct a "classical" and complete demonstration of an hypothesis. Sometimes, the short number of persons interviewed and their relative homogeneity give rice to outcome that cannot be generalized. However, this is not a limit but an inherent characteristic in the qualitative approach of CEAQ researches, as it is impossible to construct a representative sample of subjects such as everyday life practices. The scientific guarantee of research work is not based on objective criteria but on the interviewer subjectivity, which is the primary parameter of the whole work, following a rigorous weberian comprehensive method.




Author(s): Valentyna Podshyvalkina

First, in this paper we discuss the thesis, that investigation of social changes determine development of new scientific cognitive models. In history of sciences it is possible to define some cognitive interpretation models of a concrete material: scholastic, mechanistic, statistical, system. New diatropical cognitive model ('nature as the garden') concentrates to the common properties of the irrespective nature elements. The basic diatropical concept is a line. A line is both complete system and quite often-simple orderliness of set. The lines comparison of different quality elements is elementary diatropical operation. Second, we analyze some diatropical feathers of social changes: - the basis of social changes are made by the new processes as lines of different quality elements subsets; -for social changes occurrence of quickly disappeared phenomena is peculiar. Such events make subsets of elements or lines of statistically insignificant events, which may influent on social processes; -social changes have the subjective component (the national hero, the popular person). Third, we study diatropical components in the structure of 45 narratives, devoted to reflection of social changes in post-soviet country. To conclude, we discuss about the need of diatropical ideas using in narrative analyses.




Author(s): Vincenzo Romania 

The issue is how different qualitative methodologies have produced different results, in two researchs about migrations and processes of integration of Albanians in Italy. Particularly, I coordinated a first research financed by IOM, in 2000. The commitment asked me for interviews in-depth to Italian key-informants. The respondents were asked about the integration and the labour insertion of Albanians in their industrial district. The results of this research were used to decide where to host 5.000 new immigrants from Albania. In a second time, I conducted a research for my Ph.D. dissertation, about the processes of social mimesis of some Albanians in the host society (Italy). The hyphotesis was that Albanians, in some public interaction, hide their national identity to avoid conflicts. Thus, this work focussed on the definition of situation. Also in this case, I used in-depth interviews and other material for the background research. But the results were quite different. It happened, I suggest, also for problems linked to the methodology of key informant: the reiteration of interviews to the same people, the social and sociological desirability of some answers. Finally, for social operators, a consumption of scientific books, without adequate interpretative tools.




Author(s): Wouter de Nooy