Aaron V. Cicourel: I Am NOT Opposed to Quantification or Formalization or Modeling, but I Do Not Want to Pursue Quantitative Methods That Are Not Commensurate With the Research Phenomena Addressed

Andreas Witzel, Günter Mey


In this interview, which was conducted mainly by e-mail, we trace the evolution of Aaron V. CICOUREL's thinking and career. In Part 1 we begin with his undergraduate education, then as a doctoral student, as an assistant professor, and his experiences with field research. Part 2 con­tains his critical reflections on the ecological val­idity problem which underlie self-contained inter­views and surveys that lack ethnographic data. In Part 3 he shows that it is necessary—and this is his specific contribution to the qualitative approach—to reflect on respondents' daily life experiences and understanding of fixed-choice or open-ended questions. Many strategies for valid interviews are also discussed in this part. Part 4 contains CICOUREL's reflections on the broad field of qualitative research and his own current research on daily life decision-making, routine information and communication processing, or activating memo­ry. Different methods for analyzing natural settings are proposed. In the Part 5 general devel­op­ments in qualitative research—challenges, ob­sta­cles and solutions—are pointed out. In Part 6 CICOUREL describes national differences of research cultures in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0403412


statistical methods; field research; ethnography; sociolinguistics; ecological validity; qualitative interviews; information processing; communication; national research culture

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-5.3.549

Copyright (c) 2004 Andreas Witzel, Günter Mey

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