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Studying turning points in labour market trajectories – benefits of a panel-based mixed methods design

Abstract : Turning points describe a fundamental change of direction in a life course trajectory. However, they are challenging to study because of their temporal extension, the complexity of processes at stake during those critical life sequences, and the fact that individuals’ interpretation as well as more objective changes in social status and position play important roles in turning points. Panel-based mixed methods designs are well suited to address those challenges. In-depth interview data enable researchers to understand individuals’ interpretations and offer detailed understanding of the processes at stake on multiple levels and domains. The panel survey data allow a glimpse into the respondents’ past, which can serve as a detailed resource for further case-based information. At the same time, the continuing survey data collection in prospective waves yields important data on respondents’ futures that can be analysed against the background of the told history. In this paper, we draw on data from a mixed methods study on the labour market trajectories of 23 descendants of immigrants in Germany, based on the Socio-Economic Panel survey (SOEP). The aim of the paper is to show the potential of combining retrospective interviews and panel data to account for the objective as well as subjective dimensions of turning points. Combining qualitative data and panel data does not aim at reaching the ‘right’ understanding of each case but at obtaining a multifaceted picture of respondents’ lives, which can help to avoid misinterpretation and under-theorisation.
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Submitted on : Monday, January 17, 2022 - 9:53:45 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 13, 2022 - 10:34:07 AM
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Nicolas M Legewie, Ingrid Tucci. Studying turning points in labour market trajectories – benefits of a panel-based mixed methods design. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 2021, 12 (1), pp.41-62. ⟨10.1332/175795920X15949756176915⟩. ⟨halshs-02915980⟩



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