School-to-Work-Transition—Career Development and Family Planning: Methodological Guidelines and Challenges of a Qualitative Longitudinal Panel-Study

  • Thomas Kühn
  • Andreas Witzel
Keywords: school-to-work transition, longitudinal study, career development, family planning, grounded theory, qualitative data base, typologies


We are presenting the basic features of our qualitative German panel study concerning the job entry of young adults, dealing also with methodological issues. The selection of the respondents in qualified jobs (commercial-technical, crafts/trade, services) took into account gender-specific aspects, different labor-market prospects and regions. From the quantitative panel, a theoretical sample of respondents was selected who were interviewed three times in three-years intervals (3 waves). These interviews, focusing on individual biographies (i.e. orientations and action strategies) form the basis for constructing a typology. Methodological innovations concern the modeling of the sequence of occupational actions and orientations as life-course sequences and the case-specific and case-comparing analysis of interview transcripts. This was done—based on a data bank containing the interview material—by means of a detailed scheme of categories. The integration of quantitative and qualitative longitudinal data presents a theoretical and methodological challenge. Our focus is on biography and life-course research which suggests an interdisciplinary approach. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0002178


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Author Biographies

Thomas Kühn
Thomas KÜHN (Psychologist), born 1971, graduate of Bremen University, researcher at the Special Research Center 186 "Status Passages and Risks in the Life Course" at the University of Bremen since 1994 (further information at: His research focuses on biography and life course, career socialization, family sociology and psychology, methods of qualitative longitudinal analysis.
Andreas Witzel
Andreas WITZEL (Psychologist, PhD), born 1945, studies in Regensburg and Darmstadt, researcher at the University of Bremen. Since 1990 project member at the Sfb 186 "Status Passages and Risks in the Life Course. His research focuses on career and pre-career socialization, occupation and labor market, and on methods of interpretative social research (especially qualitative interview and evaluation methods and the linking of qualitative and qualitative methods).

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