The Problem of Using Scientific Knowledge—Discussed on the Example of a Study of Female Gymnasts in Germany

Peter Frei, Ilka Lüsebrink


The success of qualitative social research often depends on the chance to collect data as authentically as possible, e.g., in case of investigating life-world contexts that means data which are very close to the attitudes and perspectives of the protagonists acting in their respective contexts. Frankness and communication are central premises which have to be considered, especially when the field to be investigated is quite unexplored and unfamiliar. With frankness and communication the relationship between researchers and those to be researched often changes in the course of a prolonged research process in a way that the former want to increasingly formulate offers for the participants out of a previous descriptive attitude and the latter shed their scepticism towards the researchers and expect or hope for something in return (e.g., consultation services). At this point a special problem of research becomes critical: What looks like identical intentions could not be more disparate. What researchers produce is knowledge of a research field and the individuals acting in this field from which practical consequences can not be easily deduced. In the attempt of the research subjects to find such deductions nonetheless there will be almost inevitably biases in the corresponding research results. This fundamental problem of using scientific knowledge is discussed based on the example of a qualitative study of female gymnastics.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs030140


use of knowledge; female gymnastics; physical education; children and adolescent competitive sport; communication

Copyright (c) 2003 Peter Frei, Ilka Lüsebrink

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