Rather popular in German qualitative studies are e. Especially in Sociology and Psychology, research tools such as programs for computer-assisted analysis of qualitative data are used. At the same time it can occasionally be problematic in reference to some essentials of qualitative research. In his opinion not only a growing "mercantilization of science" ibid. While quantitative methodologies provide accepted criteria in deciding whether or not a measurement may be regarded as objective, reliable, and valid, within qualitative research a comparable consent on criteria needed for evaluating the research process and its outcome does not exist.
Few authors try to take over classical positivist criteria of evaluation and apply them to qualitative studies.
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Usually, demands towards objectivity are regarded as quite inadequate under a qualitative perspective. Subjectivity of researchers is not to be eliminated as an interference variable, but to be used for communicative and understanding processes see LEGEWIE , p. Also rejected are demands towards reliability , since data collection situations, e. Additionally, depending on the sub- cultural and biographical background of the persons involved, "people also test persons are continually developing and situational conditions are changing, parallel to social change" MAYRING , p.
Philipp MAYRING stresses that the research participant is changed even by the mere intervention of the researcher and by the measurement. Siegfried LAMNEK has a similar perspective when he states that "to standardize in a way that is similar to quantitative research would only create a superficial and misleading comparison of the instruments and should be forbidden. Most attention is given to questions of validity , whose importance for qualitative research becomes obvious when one sees how many questions are discussed under this term which elsewhere are partially subsumed to other criteria.
Here, from a qualitative perspective, a move "from technical measurement to interpretation and communication" ibid. Another important standard for writing and publishing research results is to make the pre-assumptions and decisions within the research process as transparent and comprehensible as possible.
Most reports of qualitative research do not fulfill this standard. One reason might be that publisher demands stand in the way. Here more systematical reflections, influenced by research in the History of Science, Sociology of Science, etc. In research funding, qualitative studies—compared to their quantitative pendant—are often treated with neglect: Only a minimum of funds in the Social Sciences is given to qualitative research projects. For some disciplines, e. Psychology, a kind of "strategic interdisciplinarity" is sometimes good advice, since many reviewers for Psychology in certain funding institutions are very skeptical towards qualitative research.
Also, in other disciplines, qualitative studies sometimes only earn a "condescending smile". For example, a colleague doing research on gender differences wrote in answer to the mail-inquiry regarding the state of German language qualitative research see Note 2 the following:. But maybe this was only a situational effect [of the session I participated in]: The mainly male and some of them very renowned representatives of the discipline seem to have felt that their feet were stepped on.
Their own sex seemed beyond questioning, so why do research on sexual differences? In short: Qualitative research, in my opinion, encounters quite a few barriers in Work and Industrial Sociology. Not only because this discipline has a long tradition, most times relying on quantitative research strategies, but also because qualitative research threatens to question what seems accepted and usual and usual is the idea that men are predestined for the working life, be it managers or researchers.
Improvement of the funding situation and the representation of qualitative research is—in terms of the field of Psychology—at most ascertainable in specific research areas, e. In simple terms, a purely quantitative researching of psychotherapy outcomes has certain limits. In the meantime it has become more or less obvious which kind of psychotherapy is effective towards which kinds of disorders, etc. For some years now, a growing number of studies have been concerned with questions such as "What exactly is the job of a psychotherapist? So, increasingly, qualitative methods are being used since they support the development of theories and allow a microanalysis of spoken action.
Qualitative research e. In Gender Studies as well qualitative methods "are enjoying an increase in interest" according to the above mentioned colleague. Health Science also regards qualitative research to be "an accepted newcomer". Additional positive responses seem to depend on specific local and disciplinary emphases, e. Magdeburg and Hamburg for the Educational Sciences:. Today professors, in comparison to the past, are more ready to advise one to conduct qualitative research for doctoral or post-doctoral studies.
Students are becoming more and more interested in qualitative studies and approaches. Such local meeting places or niches seem to exist—likewise for qualitative teaching—for all disciplines, e. One colleague wrote about qualitative teaching in Psychology:.
In one of five areas the response was 'Qualitative Methods interviewing, content analysis, biographical methods, case studies, exploration, hermeneutic approaches '! No wonder that students and graduates of Sociology usually fail in trying to fulfill even basic requirements of qualitative research" , pp. Additionally, in Clinical Psychology student requests for courses and mentoring of qualitative research methods is growing, but cannot be met in a time of continually lessening curricular choices.
This tendency also applies to a supplementary course of study "Qualitative Methods in the Social Sciences" at the Free University of Berlin, the only one of its kind in Germany. The homepage for this course informs that the "beginning of the ninth enrollment for this 3-semester supplementary course How German qualitative researchers use the Internet can only be sketched briefly. First of all, besides publishing texts, announcements and private or institutional websites, other types of online media are becoming more common.
Collections of URLs as within the rubric "Qualitative social research" at psychologie. Websites belonging to academic institutions and allowing access to textual material, contact information etc. An interesting offer—a cooperative virtual archive for academic texts—is currently being developed by university lecturers from different universities in Munich and Berlin due to copyright reasons this offer must be limited to mentored students ;. Both lists actually work more or less as information stock markets. An offensive use of the lists e. Communicating via the Internet—so previous experience in the German language community—becomes more difficult if it is not limited to dyads and the more interaction appears necessary and sensible: This proves true for qualitative online-chats, online-research, and online-teaching, as well.
The first effort to establish a German language online-chat for qualitative-researchers had to invent virtual persons to at least play with the possibilities and limits of the chat-program as long as other discussion partners did not exist ;-. While the number of offers within the qualitative market research are continually growing, qualitative online research in the academic field is just starting; see as examples the contributions of Karl KOLLMANN in this issue or from Kai J. First steps are also being made in the methodological reflection of the changed empirical base of qualitative online research, resulting e.
Johannes MOES contribution in this issue offers some interesting food for thought in this matter though it is still unfortunately only available in German.
We have tried to provide an overview of the state of German language qualitative research, which necessarily remains limited and in need of completion. A special problem, which is also an opportunity, springs from the very heterogeneous readers we are addressing our contribution to: Some may be as unfamiliar with German qualitative research as we are with qualitative research e.
Insofar, our effort risks being too specific for some of our readers, keeping them from understanding what we have written. For others we are not offering enough new ideas, thus losing their patience and interest. But for these two unintentionally produced reactions, the Internet and its communicative possibilities can possibly allow clarifications which print media cannot offer in any comparable way: Using the discussion board, some readers might e. We would like to close by discussing and accentuating two tendencies which, in our opinion, the actual state of German language qualitative research contains: One concerns the continual marginalization of qualitative research and a possible perspective for recognition, the other some problematic implications that could accompany the struggle for recognition and potentially the preservation of recognition.
The "birth" of modern Social Sciences was closely followed by the separation of "explaining" and "understanding". Though this separation was dubious—since each observation, everyday or scientific, in the Natural or Social Sciences, means interpretation, according to the "paradigm" KUHN or "way of thinking" FLECK predominant for a certain point in time and within a discipline—the debates about a qualitative vs.
Actually, while in the Natural Sciences a shift from physical-mechanical to biological-organic metaphors is recognizable see e. But some cracks and reorientations are also visible, e. This impressing presence of qualitative researchers must be seen in perspective: "Qualitative Research" is compiled into a single segment, while e.
One must also notice that only five of the qualitative sessions are organized by German researchers.
An even closer look shows that three of these five deal with computer aided approaches or with the relationship between qualitative and quantitative research methods. In these areas there truly seems to be an important potential for the development of qualitative research, which one colleague also mentioned in the aforementioned mail survey:.
Especially in view of the enormous time and financial costs for e. In view of the previously outlined observations we can assume that the colleague is correct in his assessment of the possibilities for development, which offer possibilities for the recognition of qualitative research. Computer aided approaches for qualitative data analysis can be implemented in all areas and these are quite a lot!
It can also be assumed that this promises more success when qualitative methodology—presented as a ready-made prescription—attaches itself or rather is similar to what is familiar to quantitatively oriented researchers and evaluators; an assumption which is supported by the following, a contribution which was made in the scope of the survey in the mailing lists in regards to the status and perspectives of qualitative research:. I have come to this conclusion after having guest lectured for the last 15 years at 'traditional' institutes of Psychology.
Taking into consideration our reflections regarding the impossibility of research without a researcher, of knowledge without a "knower", of interpretation without an interpreter, a principal revision of quantitative social research is thinkable too, i. The development briefly outlined under 1. Contrary to this is a position which is described and treated as the "reflexive turn" in Ethnography. It contains the belief that "text We like to stress this necessity: Interpretation is unavoidable in the field of qualitative methodology and it makes a systematic reflection of method usage as a data production process which takes place between the researcher, the research participants and the possible users in specific scientific and everyday cultures absolutely necessary.
If only because a special feature of the qualitative approach is that the method itself—in contrast to the usage of statistic programs—must be considered to be in need of interpretation: They cannot be merely "taken over"; instead, they need the continual feedback "to the object and context in question. If one is consequent in the train of thought, then this would lead one away from the usage of available methods and towards ones that develop out of the respective question and object of stud. The inherent non-correspondence of the perspectives, results, etc. The necessity of reflection also applies to those qualitative orientations that we described with the term "textual turn": The usefulness of e.
In that, we do not consider "textual" and "reflexive" to necessarily be an opposing pair. Instead, we see them as being potentially complementary ways of approach. And we do believe that it is absolutely necessary for both to work more offensively towards qualitative research orientations in all scientific areas which deal with "social data" BONSS and which have a basic need for a paradigm in which understanding and constructing meaning are central elements. My text from October 19, was as follows:. I am currently writing a contribution on German qualitative research for the 1st FQS issue in January.
Bobbi Kerlin, who in preparation of a similar text on North American qualitative research placed some questions into an English language mailing list, inspired me to ask you some similar questions. Within which areas of empirical research are qualitative methods—regarding to your observation—more or less used?
What are some future perspectives, developmental potencies, problems for the field of qualitative research? What do you think characterizes best the move that qualitative research faces going into the next century? Do you have any references that are especially important for you in answering these questions? I appreciate any feedback, and you are also welcome to share ideas and topics not mentioned.
Please let me also know if I may cite your mails. The response rate was with about 20 mails comparably poor when considering that about subscribers belong to the lists, some of them members in both. Additionally, few persons explicitly agreed to be cited, so I decided to anonymize all answers and to slightly correct orthography if necessary.
A little "qualitative hit list" resulted from a request I made in one of the lists and includes important books that some respondents mentioned. Instead of expanding on this, let me just say that sociologists and educational researchers often preferred mentioning books with a clear disciplinary focus, while psychologists—maybe because of the relatively sparse equipment in their own discipline, tended to make more use of neighboring disciplines.
Exceptions are contributions we refer to and which are published in this FQS Issue in English language and some books we will mark in our list of references. Here, methods that involve observation of reading processes, e. The disadvantage of such methods, on the other hand, is that they do not provide the highly selective type of data we were aiming for.
The relatively specific question of the role particular features of grammar play in comprehension of German as a foreign language could probably not be answered based on data collected in a non-selective paradigm. The solution was a compromise: We constructed pseudo-authentic texts in the style of encyclopedia articles about imaginary animals, which allowed us to control for knowledge about the world while keeping the text type and the reading situation relatively natural.
By giving written interlinear translations of content words in the texts we aimed at controlling for lexical knowledge, thus trying to isolate the grammatical component of potential comprehen- sion problems. We worked with parallel versions of texts, which were propositionally identical but contained different grammatical structures.
The structures that varied systematically were those deemed to be relevant based on the first phases of the research project Table 1. For each sentence or clause con- taining the target structure e. OVS there was an alternative grammatical structure which expressed the same proposition in the parallel version of the text e. SVO; cf.
Flundodile fressen gerne einen Boren. The participants in the experiment, a total of Francophone or Italian- speaking university students with varying levels of proficiency in German, had to respond to discrete-point test items tapping into the exact compre- hension of the target items. In the case of Example 2 the comprehension test was simply an item asking to list the food the Humpfhorn eats.
The OVS structure was operationalized by items such as Example 2 above. On the whole, this structural characteristic of German turned out to be empirically difficult as compared to equivalent structures of the SVO type see Figure 2. The difference in empirical difficulty between the two structures is statistically significant overall as well as for all levels from B1 on upwards Kaiser and Peyer The impression we had gained from the analysis of the qualitative data thus led to a hypothesis that sur- vived inferential statistical testing in the controlling space of Figure 1.
Figure 2. Empirical difficulty of items containing OVS vs. Whereas the global results for the OVS structure suggest an increased difficulty of items following this noncanonical from the point of view of a native speaker of an SVO language pattern, the analysis of individual tar- get items in the stimulus texts sometimes revealed surprising results. As a last example, the item in 3 will be discussed. This item produced a mean error rate of This difference is statistically not significant.
Based on this item only we were thus unable to confirm the hypothesis regarding OVS difficulty. Such results, which go against our expectations, emerged also for some of the other target structures. As is often the case, although some answers can be given on the basis of the hypothesis testing falsificationist paradigm, more new questions arise from the patterns found in the data. Example 4 is a transcript from this third phase. Target item cf. As soon as the dative morphology is discovered, things get complicated and temporarily messed up.
It is not until in the second to last segment , after rather long reflection and discussion of the sentence, that a mental model emerges that is not only propositionally correct, but that is also yielded by a correct analysis of both lexical content and argument structure. This analy- sis allows shedding light on the surprisingly high percentage of correct comprehension of this rather difficult item: If especially low proficiency learners of German only run a superficial analysis of the passage based on some conceptual content conveyed by lexical items and frame knowledge of eating requiring an agentive eater and an eatee , the analysis can be propositionally correct despite considerable linguistic ignorance.
Example 2: Interlingual inferencing of cognate words The last example to be briefly discussed here stems from a series of inves- tigations into the way multilingual individuals infer the meaning of cognate words. Moreover, the target items are not sentences or texts, but only cognate words. As in Section 3. Figure 1 can be combined and integrated to enrich the global understanding of the underlying processes.
The stimuli are presented either with or without context, and the target items are words in languages that the participants have not learnt, but that are genealogically related to languages they master. As several studies on different target languages have shown, there is weak but statisti- cally meaningful correlation between the number of languages a participant speaks and the general ability to infer the target items.
For this present methodo- logical discussion one particular aspect will be in the focus: What are the characteristics of cognate words that are generally well inferred by multi- linguals, and what are the characteristics of words that turn out to be im- possible to infer? Based on ideas from research on third language acquisi- tion and transfer Odlin ; Ringbom , the hypothesis was that the best predictor for the empirical difficulty of items should be the linguistic distance between the target cognate and the transfer base in the multilingual lexicon of the inferring individual.
As illustrated in Figure 3, cognate words can be very similar or quite different with respect to their targets, if mea- sured using string similarity algorithms such as the Levenshtein distances cf. Heeringa, Kleiweg, Gooskens, and Nerbonne At least from a psycholinguistic point of view it seems reasonable to construe the category of cognate as a radial category with fuzzy boundaries rather than a clear-cut category based on genealogical relations across languages.
Figure 3. Danish and Swedish Cognates and feature-based Levenshtein distances to English For the sake of brevity I will only give a short summary of the results of the experimental in the wider sense data on listening comprehension of cog- nates: The quantitative analysis of the empirical difficulty and the linguistic distance as measured by the phonologically weighted Levenshtein distances revealed that items that are beyond a particular threshold cf.
Figure 4. Empirical difficulty inferability of items and feature-based Levenshtein distances to English cognates A subsequent quantitative analysis aimed at the detailed investigation of the impact of particular phonological contrasts between target words and po- tential transfer bases.
The results suggest that as soon as consonants are different with respect to place or manner of articulation , interlingual in- ferencing becomes very difficult. Phonological differences in vowels, on the other hand, do not seem to be a problem, in many cases a difference even coincides with better interlingual inferencing cf. Berthele for a detailed discussion of these analyses.
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However, we cannot be entirely sure whether the patterns are internally valid, i. Below, five examples of verbal protocols simultaneous thinking about the cognates are given, from two different participants. Table 2.
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Whereas there is no way of tracing the searches the partici- pants carried out in the quantitative analyses of the paper-and-pencil variant of the task, the thinking-aloud task allows to tap into these interlingual pro- cesses. The triangulation in sense 3 of the list in Section 2. Since most of the data discussed here stem from rather highly educated participants mostly university students , the external validity of the results remains limited to populations with similar educational backgrounds. Conclusions Research on multilingualism obviously obeys the same methodological constraints governing most other empirical disciplines.
Science-internally it is most important that researchers be aware of the underlying epistemologi- cal stances of these activities. As a believing and practicing constructivist I would like to argue that both re- search belonging to the controlling space and to the watching space e. Triangulations in the third sense thus are a delicate affair, since different elicitation methods lead to different construals of reality.
I have tried to attenuate this problem by keeping the target items grammatical target structures, cognate words and the goal of the tasks identical comprehension by only varying the nature of the response data and the constraints on the context of the task. More generally, it seems that hasty attributions of realism and nominalism to quantitative and qualitative approaches respectively are as inappropriate as the celebration of triangula- tion and multi-methods approaches as universal cure.
Triangulation is not per se better than a single-method approach, and moreover it is important to distinguish the fundamentally different types of triangulation listed in Sec- tion 2. By no means have I wanted to overrate the two examples of my own re- search presented in this contribution as particularly outstanding tokens of methodological excellence. There are obvious shortcomings of the method- lological choices, e. More rigorous control i. Other shortcomings of all the analyses presented here can easily be identified. The studies were thus merely intended as illustrations of two points: Firstly to show the particular constraints imposed by each methodological choice, and secondly to illus- trate possibilities of moving across the different methodological spaces in Figure 1.
We therefore need to be particularly aware of the degree of generalizability of the insights we gain from our data. Quantitative studies that do not involve adequate sampling techniques and control for the most important factors influencing linguistic competence and there are many such poten- tial factors only license very limited external generalizations.
Including the additional aspects work-privacy conflict, procedural justice, relational justice, mobbing and intention to leave in the analysis resulted in a similar model 30 parameter, four factors, variance explained: Work-privacy conflict was mainly associated with the demand factor, relational justice and mobbing belonged to the factor interpersonal relations and leadership, procedural justice belonged to the factor influence and possibilities for development and intention to leave was mainly associated to the outcome factor. Regression analyses of the work load scales on the eight outcome parameters on health, well being and work satisfaction were conducted for two reasons:.
Because of the numerous scales and models involved it was necessary to present the results in a compressed manner. Table 4 [ Tab. The - statistically speaking - worst prediction using psychosocial work load was found for the factor general health. Thus, these additional five parameters explained an additional portion of variance in the outcomes and are valuable supplies of the COPSOQ questionnaire.
In each of the eight models one or more representatives of this group SUP was involved as a predictor in prominent place. The work-privacy conflict scale acted as a predictor for all eight outcomes, the COPSOQ scale job insecurity was comprised in six models, the predictor mobbing was in one case among the five most important predictors. Out of the 18 original COPSOQ scales the scales meaning of work and sense of community were most relevant with being an important predictor in six models out of eight. The scales emotional demands and possibilities for development were incorporated in three models each as one of the most important factors.
Role conflicts was included in two models, quantitative demands, workplace commitment, predictability, role clarity and quality of leadership in one model each - the latter as the most important predictor for job satisfaction. Concerning the diagnostic power of the instrument it was tested if the COPSOQ scales were able to replicate known or plausible differences in work load and stress profiles of different professional groups. The results showed, that some of the work factors are obviously dependent on the profession, whereas this was not the case in other spheres.
Expectedly the mean value for emotional demands for instance was higher in the medical profession and for nursing staff compared to the average of all employees or to office clerks for instance. On the other hand, the scale sense of community showed almost no differences between the professional groups, which was expected too, because this aspect is less determined by the profession but more importantly by the concrete situation at the workplace.
One important practical goal of this study was the construction of a shortened measuring instrument to be used in future. The main criterion was to achieve a maximum of shortening with a minimum loss of quality. Another goal was to stay as close as possible at the shortened Danish original version in order to facilitate international comparisons further on.
For this reason we decided to keep some scales in the shortened German instrument although they were seen critically from a psychometric point of view. The shortened instrument assesses the broad spectrum of psychosocial factors at work with 87 items in 25 scales; the long version of the German COPSOQ study used items to measure 31 constructs.
Multiple regression models to predict the outcomes with the scales of the shortened version as shown in Table 4 [ Tab. The explained variance decreased only slightly for all eight outcome factors, in addition the models remained almost unchanged lists of most important predictor parameters.
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For general assessments we propose to limit these to age, sex, and profession. In addition some supplementary aspects may be included for use in specific professional groups. Furthermore, an open question for suggestions of the employees concerning the psychosocial work situation at the end of the questionnaire should be considered. In a cooperation model between science FFAS and companies or organisations using the COPSOQ, data of new surveys are added to a dynamically growing database with profession-specific profiles of psychosocial factors at work.
Main goal besides the detailed evaluation of the measuring quality was the construction of a shortened instrument with still good measurement properties. The purpose of an employee survey using the COPSOQ should therefore be the detection of possibilities for improvements of the psychosocial work situation in the company for instance by the internal comparison of sub-units or by external comparison with similar companies and professional groups. Objectivity: The survey procedure as well as the analysis are standardised and therefore objective in a statistical sense.
With variation in the survey techniques in the future telephone interview, online interview, internal company survey possible method-effects must be examined. This is backed with statistical test criteria missing values etc. The questions seem to be presented in an understandable way and are sensitive for differentiation.
The main problem with the long questionnaire is its length, why a shortening considering the criteria of measuring quality was performed. Content validity: It is not possible to test the content validity with a standardised statistical method. However, the broad spectrum of psychosocial aspects in the COPSOQ as well as the takeover of most questions and scales from already validated instruments indicates a high content validity. Furthermore we have attempted to fill possible gaps regarding content in the German version by integrating additional scales. While shortening the questionnaire, it was emphasised to retain a broad spectrum of topics.
The national and international experiences in the next years will show if new aspects have to be integrated or existing aspects need to be inquired in a more detailed, advanced psychometrical way e. But in our point of view this is no big issue as long as the ICC as another reliability criteria remains stable and - more importantly - as long as construct and criterion validity of the instrument are not decreased considerably.
After this examinations we propose the use of the shortened scales in almost all cases exception: job satisfaction. But, since measuring properties of the scales are stated in a comprehensive and transparent way, future users are free to decide themselves, which scales respectively which version long or shortened they want to use. Generalisability: The generalisability of the measured scale reliabilities was tested in different subgroups. There were only few differences in terms of age and sex but some concerning selected professional groups.
Since no systematic weaknesses in measurement qualities for specific professions were found, the suitability of the COPSOQ as an instrument for all professions seems not to be threatened. However, experiences for the professions in the production sector are quite limited yet. Construct validity: The analysis of the construct validity with the sales of the long and shortened version showed that the four theoretically defined areas demands, influence and possibilities for development, interpersonal relations and leadership and strain effects, outcomes can be confirmed by correlation analysis as well as by factor analysis.
Criterion validity: The analysis using the workplace factors as causes and the outcome parameters as consequences in regression models showed a correspondence of the theoretically postulated relations and the empirical reality. As expected, job satisfaction as the criterion closest to work related factors was predicted better through these factors than health and quality of life related outcome factors.
In the prediction models some scales were found to be dispensable in terms of the prediction of the outcomes analysis of risk factors at work. Shortened version: The measurement qualities of the scales were one criterion to decide if a scale was included into the shortened questionnaire. Another criterion for the decision was sort of a cost-benefit consideration between the number of items costs and the increase of the measuring quality benefit. For this reason the single question concerning general health is included instead of the rather long item catalogue of the WAI, although the latter demonstrated a slightly better measurement quality.
The third criterion was the preservation of the broad content of psychosocial factors in the questionnaire; that is why some short scales were kept which do not have a direct impact on the outcomes and why some scales were kept with critical measurement characteristics. The performed analysis could show that the proposed shortened version of the questionnaire almost reaches the same level of criterion validity as the long version. Profiles of psychosocial factors at work can be established and compared for different professional groups. Since the shortened version is used to build up a broad database with professional specific reference data on psychological factors at work.
For organisations using the COPSOQ, the supplementary external comparison of their data benchmarking is valuable in terms of a better evaluation of their own results.