Doing Qualitative Multi-Level Analysis: Theoretical, Methodological, and Practical Considerations


  • Sylvia Nienhaus Ruhr-Universität Bochum
  • Ann-Kathrin Stoltenhoff Europa-Universität Flensburg



qualitative multi-level analysis, triangulation, mixed methods, educational research, research on inclusion, research on inequality


Over the years, qualitative approaches in empirical social research have become more differentiated. This particularly concerns researchers who consider the interaction of different social levels, such as HELSPER, HUMMRICH and KRAMER (2013) with their qualitative multi-level analysis (QM). As they write, the approach is characterized by many open questions. There are little concrete indications of an application in research practice, and the transferability to fields other than school pedagogy has not yet been clarified.

The impetus for this article came from a working group we founded in 2019 to further develop QM with regard to its applicability as an approach to empirical educational and social research. In this context, we had a conversation with Rolf-Torsten KRAMER, one of the three QM developers, in November 2020. In this article we incorporate excerpts from that conversation to explain theoretical, methodological, and research-practical questions we have faced dealing with QM. We discuss these questions via references to relevant literature and with recourse to completed research projects. We see our examination of QM as an unfinished process in which we strive for transparency and are open to connections, criticism. and methodological additions.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Sylvia Nienhaus, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Dr. Sylvia NIENHAUS ist wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin am Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft, AG Schulforschung, der Ruhr-Universität Bochum. Sie arbeitet zu qualitativer Mehrebenenanalyse, qualitativen Perspektiven auf Bildungsungleichheiten und Prozessen sozialer Ungleichheit sowie Orientierungen von Akteur:innen in (früh-)kindlicher Bildung und Betreuung.

Ann-Kathrin Stoltenhoff, Europa-Universität Flensburg

Dr. Ann-Kathrin STOLTENHOFF ist wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin am Institut für Erziehungswissenschaften der Europa-Universität Flensburg. Aktuelle Arbeitsschwerpunkte sind interdisziplinäre Diskursforschung, Subjektivierungsforschung, digitale Transformation pädagogischer Ordnungen, Medienbildung, qualitativ-rekonstruktive Heterogenitäts-, Inklusions- und Diversitätsforschung sowie Forschungsethik und Forschungsdatenmanagement.



How to Cite

Nienhaus, S., & Stoltenhoff, A.-K. (2022). Doing Qualitative Multi-Level Analysis: Theoretical, Methodological, and Practical Considerations. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 23(2).



Single Contributions