Explorative-Interpretative Methods for Governance Studies


  1. You get acquainted with the main forms and assumptions of key approaches in explorative-interpretative research (EIR) within the social sciences that are relevant for governance studies.
  2. You make your own hands-on experiences of working with key methods, individually and in teams.
  3. You make a transfer of approaches and methods to a research question of your choice, so that you can start practically applying what you have learnt to course work and the preparation of your bachelor thesis.

The course should provide you with hands-on experience in using basic explorative-interpretative research approaches, which allow you to improve your course work during the bachelor and carry out basic research for project courses and the bachelor thesis.


The basic attitude of this course is that we intend to carry out curious research: to discover changing or new aspects of social life, to better understand social life-worlds of which we always thought we would know all about, generate hypotheses and concepts instead of just applying them—by systematically taking into account the perspective of those studied. This is meant with researching exploratively and interpretatively. This is all the more important as in our society we increasingly find a complexity and confusion of ways of life and of ways how policy/politics is made which are not really familiar to us.

The course will introduce you to basic dimensions of explorative and interpretative social research:

  • Methodological foundations of EIR
  • Observing & Participating
  • Interviewing
  • Analysing texts/documents
  • Using hardware/software tools
  • Designing a project

Essential parts of this course are the tutorials in which empirical working techniques are explored practically so that you can already in this course collect hands-on work experience with EIR methods. Towards the end of the course, students will also come to develop ideas about own inquiries as for other course work or the final thesis.

Contact: Dr Peter Stegmaier