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.
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