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STIBET | Introduction to the Qualitative Research Methods in Sociology


Nov 25, 2020 from 02:00 to 06:00 (Europe/Berlin / UTC100)



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+49 641 / 99-30 054

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Research questions used in qualitative studies are open questions that aim to answer a ‘what’, ‘how’ or ‘why’. They are supposed to give insight into perspectives or interpretations of people, or provide information on considerations, experiences or needs. The central focus of this workshop is to provide an overview of qualitative methodology used in sociology as well as to focus then on two examples of qualitative methods like narrative interviews and participant observation. The participants will learn the main principles of these research methods as well as develop the basic skills to use them in the own research projects.

The workshop will consist of a combination of theoretical inputs, practical exercises and group discussions and will take place on two different days:

On the first day, the participants will:

  • learn when to use qualitative methods,
  • understand what is the difference between qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • learn the key issues around recruitment and sampling in qualitative research
  • develop practical skills of using the qualitative methodology like making the first contacts with informants, formulation of open questions (narrative interviews), preparation of field notes or observation memos (participant observation)

After the first day, participants will receive a small research task to try one of the learned methods: to conduct a narrative interview  or to make a participant observation.


On the second day of the workshop (two weeks later), the participants will have an opportunity to discuss the results of their practical work as well as learn from other practical examples and pair and group-exercises. We will discuss:

  • following the principles of theoretical sampling and theoretical saturation
  • typical mistakes when conducting narrative interviews or doing the participant observation
  • difficulties when approaching the informants
  • difficulties during the formulation of narrative questions and making an observation
  • criteria to evaluate the quality of qualitative research

I will also share my own experience as sociologist from using interpretive social research in my PhD project.

The workshop is particularly suited for master and doctoral students who are starting work on a project with a qualitative dimension or those who are thinking about using qualitative research methods for the first time. But also for everyone interested in qualitative methodology.

// Galina Novikova (GCSC)