Information on individual educational components (ECTS-Course descriptions) per semester

Degree programme: Master Sustainable Energy Systems
Type of degree: FH Master´s Degree Programme
Summer Semester 2021

Course unit title Interpretation-Workshop: reading, analysing & assessing data
Course unit code 800101013800
Language of instruction German
Type of course unit (compulsory, optional) Elective
Semester when the course unit is delivered Summer Semester 2021
Teaching hours per week 2
Year of study 2021
Number of ECTS credits allocated Second Cycle (Master)
Number of ECTS credits allocated 3
Name of lecturer(s) Jonathan JANCSARY

Prerequisites and co-requisites

This course will be held in German. The English translation is for information only. 

None. Interest in qualitative research and working on texts is useful.

Course content

This course will be held in German. The English translation is for information only.  

The course “Interpretation-Workshop: reading, analysing & assessing data” is inspired by the typical approach of interpreting interviews applying methods of social sciences (Grounded Theory, Objective Hermeneutics), and wants to transcend this classic approach to understanding data. Nevertheless, students will work together with the two lecturers concretely on the reading and coding of interviews which focused on changes in the Austrian welfare regime from the perspective of people receiving social benefits (this perspective is being given because of the professional background of the lecturers). But this course does not want to stay put, but aims at showing and proving that different methods of interpretation can be used to code, interpret, and understand various texts and forms of texts – not just interviews. This can last from an application of a candidate for a job/position to the description of a new technical innovation. Students of this course are asked – inspired by associative thinking made famous by Jacques Derrida – to think for themselves in which of their own areas of expertise such methods could be useful, and present their ideas during the course.

The course, therefore, is crafted as a transdisciplinary course. The typical concepts of philosophy of language and methods of social sciences are not only being applied to so-called “adequate” (or: “usual”) phenomena, but new and unexpected ways of using this methods shall be found. Students shall dare to try applying a method to a seemingly unfitting phenomenon and see what happens.

The course “Interpretation-Workshop” therefore deals with two topics:

(a) First of all, an introduction is given into various methods of interpretation and some concrete and detailed examples are shown concerning the functioning of these methods. This is being done with the help of narrative interviews with recipients of social benefits (“Mindestsicherung”) in Vorarlberg.

(b) Secondly, students shall use the newly learned and understood methods of interpretation to gain a new perspective on phenomena which are not usually being looked at by such methods (f.e. a text from their own area of expertise).

Students are therefore asked to work together with the two lectures and dive into different worlds of languages (f.e. social work, economics, informatics, et cetera) and try to understand each other.

Learning outcomes

This course will be held in German. The English translation is for information only.

The following points have been defined as learning outcomes:

(a) Students will receive fundamental insight into ideas and methods concerning the interpretation and assessing of data (mainly interviews). Those ideas and methods are inspired and taken from the fields of social sciences and philosophy of language.

(b) Students will learn to work with different types of texts and to apply various methods of interpretation (Grounded Theory, Objective Hermeneutics). This course focuses on the analysis and interpretation of already accumulated data – students do not have to collect data themselves.

(c) Students will learn how human perception is shaped by different perspectives, what associative thinking could be, and they will see how different methods applied to the same phenomena shape the (scientific) outcome significantly. The “problem” that the research question and the method at hand significantly determine the outcome of each (scientific) research will be shown practically.

(d) Students will gain insights into the current political discussion concerning changes in the Austrian welfare regime, mainly with the help of the example of the “Mindestsicherung” respectively the “Sozialhilfe NEU”.

(e) Students will gain insights into how transdisciplinary scientific work is possible and will learn what positive effects exist in such an approach as well as which difficulties come along.

(f) Students will work on a topic of social science. However, they will get to know methods and premises which are not solely relevant for the research in social sciences. Accordingly, there will be enough time during the course to also work on texts and data of one’s own field of study (f.e. intermedia, informatics, et cetera). To be able to work on and with texts and to have a better understanding of language and of how understanding is possible per se is useful in nearly all jobs and positions.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

This course will be held in German. The English translation is for information only. 

lectures, working individually as well as in groups concerning the interpretation of interviews, and interpreting in the plenum

Assessment methods and criteria

This course will be held in German. The English translation is for information only.  

The concept of “QUER-denken” asks the lecturer and the students to produce their own products (“Werkarbeiten”) which will then be used by the University of Applied Science.

Evaluated will be …

__ the student’s final product (an interpretation)

__ the protocol concerning coding and interpreting of interviews/texts

__ a reflection report of about two to four pages concerning the process of coding and interpreting



Recommended or required reading

This course will be held in German. The English translation is for information only.  

The technical literature listed below is not mandatory to read, but will be incorporated in the course of the seminar both into the impulse lectures of the speakers and in the sense of a "working instruction" for the text evaluation:

Brügger, Niels & Vigsø, Orla (2008): Strukturalismus. Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink Verlag

Charmaz, Kathy (2014, 2nd Edition): Constructing Grounded Theory. London: Sage Publications.

Derrida, Jacques (1976): Die Schrift und die Differenz. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag.

Flick, Uwe (2018, 2nd Edition): Doing Grounded Theory. London: SAGE Publication

Garz, Detlef & Kraimer, Klaus [Hrsg.] (2016, 3. Auflage): Die Welt als Text – Theorie, Kritik und Praxis der objektiven Hermeneutik. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag.

Strauss, Anselm & Corbin, Juliet (1996): Grounded Theory – Grundlagen qualitativer Sozialforschung. Weinheim: Beltz.

Strübing, Jörg (2014): Grounded Theory – Zur sozialtheoretischen und epistemologischen Fundierung eines pragmatischen Forschungsstils. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

Wernet, Andreas (2009, 3. Auflage): Einführung in die Interpretationstechnik der Objektiven Hermeneutik. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag.

Mode of delivery (face-to-face, distance learning)

Face-to-face course with attendance expected