Universität Bielefeld

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Research Group Qualitative Methods


Qualitative methods have a long-standing tradition in sociology, going back to the Chicago School. We represent a broad spectrum of qualitative methods, with a focus on ethnomethodology and conversation analysis, as well as ethnographic, biographical and visual methods.

We combine these methods with the investigation of interactions in everyday, institutional and media contexts. We base our work on the theoretic thought of Alfred Schütz, Harold Garfinkel and Erving Goffman.

We are not about enforcing methodological norms, but instead we consider qualitative social research as an interplay between in-depth analysis of natural data, reflective use of the set of methodological instruments, and on-going examination of the theoretical premises of the interpretative paradigm.

Against this backdrop we work on the structures and functions of everyday communication, showing, for instance, how interactive objectives can be achieved, how crises can be processed, and what role media play in everyday life.