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996007 Understanding and (Qualitative) Analysis (BS) (SoSe 2018)

Inhalt, Kommentar

In the analysis of qualitative data and other texts understanding sometimes appears to be a trivial thing. Researchers seem to struggle much more with theoretical and methodological problems than with basic issues of understanding. But what is understanding, and particularly academic understanding, all about? What are the conditions of understanding and what practices do we apply, either intentionally or pre-reflexively, when we try to understand? In this Methods Class we will approach the relation of understanding and analysis from different disciplinary perspectives such as philosophy (Alfred North Whitehead), reflexive sociology (Pierre Bourdieu) and ethnomethodology (Harvey Sacks). In the light of the gained knowledge we will evaluate the conceptual foundations of qualitative data analysis and according software. And finally, we will apply our knowledge to an empirical example. Participants’ previous experience with the use of qualitative methods is welcome but not mandatory.

You find most of the literature as PDF files in the ‘Lernraum’. Please print out the text by Alfred North Whitehead from the internet address given below.

List of literature

Alfred North Whitehead 1938: Lecture Three: Understanding. In: Whitehead, A.N.: Modes of Thought. New York: Macmillan, pp. 58-87 Available under:

Pierre Bourdieu 1999: Understanding. In. Bourdieu, P. et al.: The Weight of the World. Social Suffering in Contemporary Society. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, pp. 607-626

Harvey Sacks 1995: February 19. Poetics; Tracking co-participants; Touched-off topics; Stepwise topical movement. In: Sacks, H.: Lectures on Conversation, Volume II, Part V, Winter 1971. Malden, MA et al. pp. 291-302

John V. Seidel 1998: Appendix E: Qualitative Data Analysis. Available under:


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Studiengang/-angebot Gültigkeit Variante Untergliederung Status Sem. LP  
Bielefeld Graduate School In History And Sociology / Promotion Theory and Methods Classes   0.5 Methods Class  
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