Qualitative Social Research

Interpretative social research constitutes a core field of qualitative empirical research. The institute’s research in this area is twofold: One focus is on the methodological and methodical progress of interpretive social research; another is about strategies of qualitative biographical research.

Research on methodological and methodical concepts is indispensable when addressing and developing interpretive social research. Within this methodological orientation, the research focuses on hermeneutic approaches. Methodical new areas such as artefact analysis are explicitly addressed in order to add to and expand the material analysis of society. Within this research field, the institute works in cooperation with WU’s Competence Center for Empirical Research Methods and the Department of Sociology at the University of Vienna.

Another subfield is qualitative biography research: Functional subsystems increasingly structure modern societies, while participation in these subsystems is more and more left to the individual’s responsibility. Based on this evolving phenomenon, the work focuses on the determinants of individual biographical designs, in particular the individual’s points of references, access to, and impact on social transformation. In line with WU’s economic approach, particular emphasis is placed on employment as an integral part of individual biographies.

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Politics and Economics