Research Methodologies Towards the Doing and Making of Families – Parallel Session 2 – FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 24TH – 10:30

How to do Research on the Doing and Making of Family in, through and with Education and Social Work? – Jenny (Salzburg/AUT)

Family Generational Relations in the Context of Refuge and Asylum: Methodological reflections on the investigation of doing and displaying family – Li-Gottwald/Westphal/Aden/Korn (Kassel/GER)

Practices of Doing Parenthood and Professionalism in and through Parent-Teacher Conferences: What can conversation analysis tell us? – Angell (Drammen/NOR)


How to do Research on the Doing and Making of Family in, through and with Education and Social Work? – Jenny, Amancay Maria (Salzburg/AUT)

As the Call for Papers reflects, family studies have advanced enormously throughout the past two decades, particularly with regard to theoretical-conceptual frameworks and research perspectives. Nevertheless, it is seldom made the subject of academic debate how the “doing and making of family” can actually be captured in data collection and reconstructed in data processing and analysis. In other words, the nitty-gritty of qualitative research often remains uncovered, as most papers and articles focus on results.

To change this situation we need to put up for discussion how we apply and adapt methodology and work through data practically. This seems vital in order to achieve new knowledge, especially with regard to our understanding of relational processes. Therefore, I suggest two actions:


“Microscoping Methodology. A Workshop on How to Analyze the ‘Making and Doing of Family’”

Firstly, I propose to establish a workshop-like format in order to share and exchange practical research experience. In this way, all participants would enhance their understanding not only of the knowledge gained, but how this is (made) possible.

Two or three different presenters or research teams grant well-founded insight into their ways of reconstructing relationships and relational processes of “doing and making family”, particularly in, through and with education and social work.

Presenters are invited to show and explain their practical ways of collecting data and working one’s way through it. They can choose their own particular methodological focus and topic.

The joint task for all presenters would be to expound one’s processes of data analysis and outcomes against the backdrop of the original methodological and theoretical considerations.

“Unravelling the Reconstructive Process in a Study on Relationships. How a Mentor Develops his Orientation toward a Young Refugee as ‘Extended Family’”

Secondly and irrespective of whether the conference organizers take up the idea of having a workshop or not, I propose  to present are constructive  process  of a narrative  orientation  framework (in  German: Orientierungsrahmen). I would like to show step-by-step how we selected and adapted the methodology of the “documentary method” (in German: “Dokumentarische Methode”, based on Bohnsack and Nohl) in order to  reconstruct  how  personal  relationships  were  built  amongst “adult  voluntary  mentors” and “unaccompanied refugee minors”. This methodological development was necessary as we initially found few contributions on how to study in-depth the construction of such relationships and concomitant processes. We used follow-up interviews with mentors from a small qualitative panel.

The presentation will exemplify the case of “Harald” to discuss and share our methodological experience.

We will show how the frame “extended family” is created in the narration and how this conditions subsequent support from the mentor for his match, i.e. a young refugee.

The sub-study was part of a long-term qualitative research project at the University of Salzburg on community-based mentoring implemented by a youth welfare service in an Austria region.

Our research experience shows that it is important to draw special attention to the selection and development of research strategies and practical methods of analysis in order to produce sound knowledge. One reason for this is that despite the increasing numbers of mentoring programs, the doing and making of relationships in mentoring are underexplored. We know little about the micro-processes that shape these relationships and the consequences they have for the various persons engaged, including spouses or life partners, family members, and kin. The results of our study have implications on the way personal relationships and support systems in the context of social work can be understood and need to be addressed in research.

Family Generational Relations in the Context of Refuge and Asylum: Methodological reflections on the investigation of doing and displaying family – Li-Gottwald, Jiayin / Westphal, Manuela / Aden, Samia / Korn, Franziska (Kassel/GER)

In the context of migration and flight, practices of constructing family and education must not only be reorganized and renegotiated, but also recognized and affirmed as such – within the family, its local and transnational environments and in social and educational institutions (Westphal 2018). How family structures and relationships change and reorganize under refugee and asylum conditions in Germany, how they are intertwined with educational practices, and which family constellations and concepts become pedagogically significant, is empirically open. It can be assumed that family structures and family upbringing in (forced) migration are expanded both in terms of personnel and context and at the same time limited by powerful legal and political norms (Westphal & Aden 2020).

The lecture discusses methodical approaches of the DFG project “Change and Dynamics of Family Generational Relationships in the Context of Refuge and Asylum”(2020-2023). The project initially conceives of the family in the context of flight and asylum as a “pedagogical figuration in transition” (Müller/Krinninger 2016: 146). The aim of the project is to contribute to the further development and systematization of a theory of family upbringing, to overcome normative constraints in the consideration of the family, and to map the reality of migration society (Migrationsgesellschaft) in theory and empiricism. Using the example of (members of) families from Somalia in Germany, the study investigates how family structures, family relationship and educational practices are (re)established, organized and negotiated in the context of refuge and asylum. Empirical reconstructions of the change and dynamics of the family will be carried out with reference to pedagogically significant constellations and practices in family generational relations. The interdependence between extended generational relations, refuge and asylum experiences and transnationality for family education will be examined.

This will be explored with the help of a multi-stage design. In qualitative-ethnographic case studies, the interconnected, symbolic, interactive, and reflexive construction processes of family education are examined in a transnational context. By collecting different types of data (e.g. family photographs, private family conversations) over a longer period of time and by applying a comprehensive strategy of analysis, we will reconstruct the family’s own logic and experiences with regard to education (Westphal, Motzek-Öz & Aden 2019). In accessing the case families, ethical aspects (trauma sensitivity, participation), multilingualism and trans-/interculturality must be taken into account. In addition, the project will be realized under the conditions of a pandemic, which requires hygiene concepts to protect the families and the researchers. We would like to present and discuss our field approach, which is sensitive in several ways, as well as necessary modifications in methods.

Practices of Doing Parenthood and Professionalism in and through Parent-Teacher Conferences: What can conversation analysis tell us? – Angell, Mona-Lisa (Drammen/NOR)

Parent-teacher conferences (PTCs) can potentially be arenas for creating partnerships and mutual understanding in regard to the responsibilities for the child that parents and teachers share. However, previous research indicates that this is not always the case. According to Andenæs (2011) parents see it as their responsibility to continuously ensure that their children are well enough taken care of in day care institutions. Preschool teachers, on the other hand, treat PTCs as valuable arenas for parent-teacher cooperation (Markström, 2009), but also as an opportunity to demonstrate their professional knowledge (Simonsson & Markström, 2013). Hence there might be differences between what families and teachers se as the main purpose of the conversation. Furthermore, research has shown that in the literature on parent involvement in early childhood education, parental knowledge of the child is subordinated to professional knowledge (Hughes & Mac Naughton, 2000). Studies of interaction between parents and staff in day care institutions has documented some of the same tendencies: Parents knowledge of the child is not recognized and when parents describe their ways of taking care of the child the teachers respond by giving, minority parents in particular, advice and solutions, and the stories are rarely receive das information on how the child might like to be cared for or as parents (valid) opinions on how the child should be cared for (Cheatham & Ostrosky, 2011; Palludan, 2005; Sand, 2014).

In my current research I am doing a Conversation Analysis (CA) of 20 parent-teacher conferences in culturally diverse day care-centers in Norway. Conversation-Analytic studies has the potential to «deliver systematic, robust descriptions of social practices»(Kasper & Wagner, 2011, s. 123), and is according to Arminen et al. (2005)particularly fruitful when elaborating issues such as «the strategic aspects of interaction, the achievement of collaboration, or procedures whereby participants’ differing perspectives are brought into alignment» (Arminen et al., 2005, s. XIII). In my proposed presentation, I will share my preliminary analysis and mapping of the central phases of PTCs. I will discuss the ways preschool teachers seem to do teacher professionalism and parents do parenthood in and through the different phases of PTCs. I address whether these conversations might function as domains of struggle for some families – and of support for others.


Andenæs, A. (2011). Chains of care: Organising the everyday life of young children attending day care. Nordic psychology, 63(2), 49-67.

Arminen, I., Francis, D. D., Hester, D. S. & Carlin, D. A. (2005). Institutional Interaction : Studies of Talk at Work. Taylor & Francis Group.

Cheatham, G. A. & Ostrosky, M. M. (2011). Whose Expertise?: An Analysis of Advice Giving in Early Childhood Parent-Teacher Conferences. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 25(1), 24-44.

Hughes, P. & Mac Naughton, G. (2000). Consensus, Dissensus or Community: The Politics of Parent Involvement in Early Childhood Education. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 1(3), 241-258.

Kasper, G. & Wagner, J. (2011). A conversation-analytic approach to second language acquisition. I D. Atkinson (Red.), Alternative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition (s. 114-142). Taylor & Francis Group.

Markström, A.-M. (2009). The Parent-Teacher Conference in the Swedish Preschool: a study of an ongoing process as a ‘pocket of local order’ [Article]. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 10(2), 122-132.

Palludan, C. (2005). Børnehaven gør en forskel. Danmarks Pædagogiske Universitets Forlag.

Sand, S. (2014). Foreldresamarbeid -vitenskapelige eller kulturelle praksiser? Barnehagefolk, 31(2), 44-49.

Simonsson, M. & Markström, A.-M. (2013). Utvecklingssamtal som uppgift och verktyg i förskollärares professionssträvanden i interaktion med föräldrar. Nordisk barnehageforskning, 6.