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

  • Siegfried Lamnek Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt
Keywords: abduction, biography, complementarity, convergency, deduction, divergency, induction, integration of methods, life-course research, structure analysis, reconstruction of biography, reliability, triangulation, type construction, validity


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


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Author Biography

Siegfried Lamnek, Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt
Prof. Dr. Siegfried LAMNEK (, Dipl.-Soziologe, Dr. rer. pol., Dr. rer. pol. habil, Inhaber des Lehrstuhls Soziologie II an der Katholischen Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt. Arbeitsschwerpunkte: Methoden und Techniken der empirischen Sozialforschung (einschließlich Wissenschaftstheorie), Soziologie des abweichenden Verhaltens und sozialer Probleme. Wichtige Buchveröffentlichungen: FUCHS, M./LAMNEK, S./LUEDTKE, J.: Tatort Schule: Gewalt an Schulen 1994-1999. Opladen 2001. LAMNEK, S./OLBRICH, G./SCHÄFERr, W.: Tatort Sozialstaat: Schwarzarbeit, Leistungsmissbrauch, Steuerhinterziehung und ihre (Hinter) Gründe. Opladen 2000. LAMNEK, S.: Qualitative Sozialforschung. Band. 1: Methodologie. Band 2: Methoden und Techniken. Weinheim 1995 (3. Aufl.). LAMNEK, S.: Gruppendiskussion. Theorie und Praxis. Weinheim 1998.
Methodology and Methods