Swiss Summer School 2008

Max Bergman
Qualitative Interviewing

Max Bergman

Max Bergman is Professor of Sociology at the University of Basel, where he focuses on political sociology and empirical research methods. He has held previous teaching posts at the Universities of Cambridge, Essex, Florence (European University Institute), Geneva, Lausanne, St. Gall and Zurich, as well as the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis and Collection and the Graduate School of Social Sciences in Bremen. His current research interests can be divided into two main areas: the study of social inequality, particularly as it relates to identity and intergroup relations, which includes issues relating to social exclusion and acculturation. Second, qualitative and quantitative research methodology, focussing in particular on conceptualisation, measurement, and data theory.

Workshop contents and objectives

The aim of this workshop is to examine different aspects of interview strategies and data analysis techniques, including: the variations, possibilities, and limits of interviewing techniques; assumptions and biases during the interview process, especially in relation to sampling and reporting biases; construction of an interview schedule from a research question; question and interview schedule design; reliability and validity issues relating to the interviewing process; analysis of interview material with an emphasis on coding frames and interpretive methods; interviewing within in a mixed methods research design; strategies of reporting research results from interviews for scientific and other professional publications.

Throughout the week, daily exercises on how to collect and analyse interview material will be an important part of the lectures. The participants are furthermore invited to bring their own data to the summer school, and will have a chance to work on their project during the course.


Basic texts/overview of topics covered


No particular prerequisites are required. However, a background in the social sciences or related fields and preparatory readings are highly recommended.