Identifying Intercultural Problems between German and Polish Students using the Extended Critical Incident Analysis


  • Gundula Gwenn Hiller Europa-Universität Viadrina



critical incidents, combination of methods, German-Polish communication, problem-centered interviews


Using a survey of students from two national groups as an example, this paper shows how culture-contrastive research can be performed utilizing an extended version of the critical incident analysis (ECIA). Although it is a classic intercultural research instrument, the use of critical incidents can present methodological problems. Based on a study which was aimed at identifying communication barriers between German and Polish students at a cross-border university, an analysis method which combines traditional qualitative methods with critical incident analysis was created. The ECIA was developed as a response to the common criticisms of approaches based on critical incident analysis. By linking problem-centered interviews (WITZEL, 2000), the introduction of indicators, a codification of data, and expert opinions to critical incident analysis, the ECIA presents an application-oriented qualitative method that can be used to identify specific, relevant sources of problems in intercultural encounters.

URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0901453


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Author Biography

Gundula Gwenn Hiller, Europa-Universität Viadrina

Gundula Gwenn HILLER, Dr. is a lecturer for intercultural communication and competence. At the Department of Intercultural Learning at the European-University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder) Germany, she designed and established a program concerned with the students' development of intercultural competence. Her research areas are intercultural competence in higher education, training methods, and German-Polish communication. In addition to this, she works as a trainer for intercultural communication and competence.



How to Cite

Hiller, G. G. (2009). Identifying Intercultural Problems between German and Polish Students using the Extended Critical Incident Analysis. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 10(1).



Application, Innovation, Reflection and Training of Qualitative Methods