Interviews Based on Family Drawings - Capturing Cultural Conceptions

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 12:30
Location: Hörsaal 41 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Detlev LUECK, Federal Institute for Population Research, Germany
Confronted with the task to study cultural-normative conceptions (“leitbilder”) of the family and of family-related issues (e.g. what is a “normal” number of children), we have developed a qualitative approach, consisting of a drawing, a subsequent semi-structured interview as well as a content analysis of drawings and interviews. We have recruited n=101 participants (16+) in Germany in early 2015 in a quota sample. Each participant has been sent a kit by mail that included coloured pencils, paper and the instruction to draw a “real” family. Participants also were asked to fill out a short standard questionnaire regarding their basic socio-demographic characteristics, so that the composition of the sample could be monitored and basic comparisons between social groups were enabled. Each drawing then was interpreted in itself by a small group of researchers in an ad hoc interpretation. The interpretations were recorded and transformed into questions in an interview guide. In the semi-structured interview (by phone), participants were, at first, asked to describe their basic thoughts and intentions when reading the instructions and starting to draw. This description served to consider to what degree the drawing actually represented a cultural conception or rather the participant’s personal family situation. The participants then were asked about each detail of their drawing to confirm or correct the preceding ad hoc interpretations. In as much as participants were open to describe own nonreflective stereotypes, their self-interpretation was taken as accurate interpretation of the drawing. In as much as they seemed to filter their answers and report “politically correct” perceptions, the ad hoc interpretation was taken as a probable interpretation. This way, the participant’s personal conception was captured of how a “real” family “usually” looks like. In a summarising interpretation of motifs that were found in more than one drawing, collectively shared cultural conceptions were measured.