Workshop on Qualitative Methods (Salzburg)

Salzburg, the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the setting of the musical “The Sound of Music”, welcomed us with a warm and beautiful summer day. Also the Faculty of Culture and Social Sciences at the University of Salzburg received us in its greatest splendor, celebrating the “Long Night of Research” in their brand new building with distinctive architecture and view of the Alps.

The discussion in the Qualitative Methods Workshop was also at its highest peak. Prof. Dr. Ingrid Paus-Hasebrink, Head of the Department of Audiovisual Communication, Dean of the Faculty of Culture and Social Sciences and Founding Director of the Department of Communication Studies at University of Salzburg, and Prof. Dr. Uwe Hasebrink, Speaker of the Graduate School Media and Communication, Director of the Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research, Professor for Empirical Communication Research at the Institute for Media and Communication at the University of Hamburg, guided and coordinated the workshop.

The event was composed of four thematic blocks around qualitative methods, with a focus on the PhD projects of several PhD candidates working in the fields of communication and cultural studies. The day started with ´Qualitative Content Analysis´, with the presentation of Cornelia Grobner, who researches on the presentation and perception of foreigners in media content – particularly entertainment TV in Austria. She elaborated on the issues of generating categories using inductive or deductive methods, and how target categories arise from the theory. She also gave details about different levels of content analysis she is using in her research: syntactic, semantic and pragmatic. The second presenter of this block was Andrea Dürager, who reported on the integration different methods such as content analysis, interviews, diaries, participant observation and childrens‘ drawings. In her research she is analyzing the Austrian childrens‘ programs and viewing habits.

The second block was about ´Sampling abroad´, where Jasmin Kulterer and Amaranta Alfaro discussed the challenge of motivating young people to take part in group discussions and about possible incentives. Since both researchers are collecting the data abroad – in the U.S. and Chile – they also presented on the pros and cons about it. In the third block the topic was ´Typification´, the systematic description of similarities and differences and identification of complex patterns in the data. In this section Christina Ortner and Juliane Finger guided the discussion towards the complexities of coding and the elaboration of categores, emphasizing the importance of reflecting about the type character and identity, and avoiding the use of bilateral features.

– Amaranta Alfaro Muirhead –

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