The Analysis of Professional Practice, the Self-Reflection of Practitioners, and their Way of Doing Things. Resources of Biography Analysis and Other Interpretative Approaches


  • Bettina Dausien Universität Flensburg
  • Andreas Hanses TU Dresden
  • Lena Inowlocki Fachhochschule Frankfurt/M.
  • Gerhard Riemann Georg-Simon-Ohm University of Applied Sciences



biography analysis, qualitative social research, research on professions, professional self-reflection, professional work


The article serves as an introduction into the subject matter of this thematic issue of FQS and deals with the question how problems of professional work can become a topic of qualitative research. Focusing on issues of professional work has had an important place in biographical research for a long time. The consequences of professional interventions for the life histories of clients have been at the center of many studies, but also the relationships between the structures of experience and interpretation of professionals, on the one hand, and the specific features of their practice and their case analyses, on the other hand. Biographical research provides an empirically grounded critique and "enlightenment" of professional practice. It is often taught and practiced at professional schools, and (future) professionals can use it as a resource for discovery and understanding themselves—together with other interpretative approaches. By acquiring such research competencies they learn to look at their own practice with clients and the practice of others in a different way and they get ideas how to do things differently. The contributions to this thematic issue focus on preconditions, problems and consequences of professional work in different fields and illuminate the connection of the analysis of practice, professionals' self-reflection and their way of doing things. The articles were written by authors who belong to different disciplines in the social sciences and they are based on different approaches within the current spectrum of interpretative social research. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0801615


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Author Biographies

Bettina Dausien, Universität Flensburg

Bettina DAUSIEN, Dr. phil. habil., studies in psychology, sociology and adult education; Professor of educational science, especially educational research, at the University of Flensburg. Main fields of interest: Research on socialization, learning and education in the life course; gender studies; biographical research; qualitative research methodologies; research on the professionalization of educational practice; concepts of biographical work in education.

Andreas Hanses, TU Dresden

Andreas HANSES, Dr. phil. habil., Professor of social pedagogy, especially prevention and health promotion, at the Institute for Social Pedagogy, Social Work, and Welfare Sciences at the Technical University of Dresden. Main fields of interest: Biographical research; social work and health; health sciences and professionalization of social work.

Lena Inowlocki, Fachhochschule Frankfurt/M.

Lena INOWLOCKI , Dr. phil.habil., sociologist and professor at the Department for Health and Social Work at the University of Applied Sciences Frankfurt/M.. Main fields of interest: Biographical and generational processes of cultural transmission and transformation as well as identity processes and belongings in modern complex societies.Gerhard RIEMANN, Dr. rer. pol. habil., sociologist and professor of social work at the Georg-Simon-Ohm University of Applied Sciences in Nürnberg. Main fields of interest: Narrative analysis, biographical research, ethnography, and studies of professional work.

Gerhard Riemann, Georg-Simon-Ohm University of Applied Sciences

Gerhard RIEMANN, Dr. rer. pol. habil., Soziologe und Professor für Sozialarbeit. Schwerpunkte in Forschung und Lehre: Sozialwissenschaftliche Erzählanalyse, Biografieforschung, Ethnografie und Analyse professioneller Arbeit.



How to Cite

Dausien, B., Hanses, A., Inowlocki, L., & Riemann, G. (2008). The Analysis of Professional Practice, the Self-Reflection of Practitioners, and their Way of Doing Things. Resources of Biography Analysis and Other Interpretative Approaches. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 9(1).

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