Collective Review: Integration of Research Methods—The Example of Life-Course and Biographical Research

Siegfried Lamnek


The Special Research Centre 186 ("Sonderforschungsbereich") on "Status-Passages and Life-Course" at Bremen was initiated in 1988. Last year, members of the centre published four volumes summarising some of their main results. Basically, they differentiate theoretically and empirically between "life-course" and "biography". While life-course studies refer to quantitative statistical methods by enumerating accumulated life events, qualitative, biographical studies are attempts at accumulating information about the personal reconstructions of life histories. The methodological and theoretical intention of this empirical research is to combine and, furthermore, integrate qualitative and quantitative methods in order to receive a better insight into the phenomena of "status-passages." This review essay informs the reader about some important, substantive findings of the Special Research Centre and attempts to answer the question, whether the aim of integrating qualitative and quantitative methods was successfully realised, in order to get more reliable and valid results.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs020454


abduction; biography; complementarity; convergency; deduction; divergency; induction; integration of methods; life-course research; structure analysis; reconstruction of biography; reliability; triangulation; type construction; validity

Copyright (c) 2002 Siegfried Lamnek

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