The starting point of our research design is that the social conditions of our respondent’s lives affect their world views. The targeted group of job seekers, working poor and recipients of benefits are especially interesting, since they suffer from low material and symbolic ressources, high risks, exclusion, social isolation and stigmatisation. They are exposed to the harms and insecurities of life. To live in social conditions like this affects the ways the concerned persons see their lives and the world around them. A comparison of different countries seems to make sense to us, since poverty means something different in varying contexts. To be poor implies differing concequences, depending on your cultural and social background.
The Qualitative Paradigm
Following these ideas, we’ve decided to choose a qualitative paradigm to guide our research. Instead of testing hypotheses we want to approach our data freely and in an unique interpretive way. We don’t want to attribute certain world views to variables or factors (urban-rural, confession, regions of high unemployment), but develop theories which are grounded in den interview data. Therefore, theoretical sampling as it is known from Grounded Theory Methodology will guide our sampling. We’re not mainly interested in statistical representativity, but theoretical saturation, which will be achieved by specifically drawn comparisons. That means, we will define the range of varying context conditions by choosing cases from different areas and countries. This will guarantee a wide array of life conditions.
At the Core: The Comparison
We will achieve a theoretical saturation and ccontrasting cases by several stays in the field. This way and by comparing the different cases, we will cover a spectrum of lives in poverty and how people deal with it. The comparision will inspire and ‘surprise’ our theoretical journey into the field of poverty studies. It is a heuristical means, that allows new theoretical insights.