Observing Job Placement Interviews in German Public Employment Services: Reflections on a Qualitative Research Method

Frank Sowa, Ronald Staples, Stefan Theuer, Rajiv Althaus


Recently, qualitative research that explores job placement processes have given participant observation a larger role within the mixed methods of semi-structured interviews and document analyses. Specifically, analyses of job counselling interviews between job placement officers and their clients have become more frequent. In this article, we will present the way participant observation was implemented in a qualitative research project on behalf of the Federal Employment Agency. The aim was the analysis of counselling interviews in a multidimensional manner. In order to grasp the complex interactions in a counselling interview we introduced different categories; this aided our analysis and reconstruction of verbal and non-verbal elements and their interdependence. Participant observation allowed us to better understand what takes place during moments of silence during interviews. Our mix of categories will present advantages whenever the verbal level focuses on a formal discussion, as in the case of the counselling interviews.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1302213


participant observation; job placement interviews; labour distribution; method

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-14.2.1831

Copyright (c) 2013 Frank Sowa, Ronald Staples, Stefan Theuer, Rajiv Althaus

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