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Incident-Analysis. *. Theoretical background, conceptual remarks on a key-category of REDCo-classroom-analysis - PD Dr. Thorsten Knauth -. Workshop „Research Methods and Empirical Fieldwork“, Granada, 25.5.2006. Relevance of classroom-analysis.

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Incident analysis



Theoretical background, conceptual remarks on a key-category of


- PD Dr. Thorsten Knauth -


„Research Methods and Empirical Fieldwork“,

Granada, 25.5.2006

Relevance of classroom analysis

Relevance of classroom-analysis

  • Pupils´ perspectives are decisive for our focus: finding methods to deal with religious and cultural heterogenity

  • We don´t know much about structures of classroom-interaction

Possibilities of classroom analysis

Possibilities of classroom-analysis

  • Direct insight into interaction in classroom

  • Observation and analysis of interactive patterns in statu nascendi

  • Analysis on possibilities and limitations of dialogue in classroom

Analysis on the views of pupils according to te redco application

Analysis on the views of pupils according to te REDCo-application

  • All projects will analyse RE at school in the 14-16-year age group

  • Analysis of interaction patterns in the classroom based on participant observation and videotaped RE-lessons

Incident analysis

„We will focus on incidents

exemplifying both successful

dialogue and conflict in lessons“

Critical questions

Critical questions

  • How can incidents be defined and selected?

  • How can we avoid restricting ourselves to one method of interpretation?

Incident analysis

  • The interpretive approach of classroom-analysis

  • 2. Incidents: term and methods of analysis

  • .

Interpretive approach of classroom analysis

Interpretive approach of classroom-analysis

Classroom analysis


  • Focussed on communication and interaction in classroom

  • Methodological perspective: to reconstruct the perspective of the participants

  • All activities in classroom are symbolic actions and interactions

  • Hermeneutical perspective of the approach

Basic aspects

Basic aspects

  • Teaching and learning in RE as symbolic interaction

  • The relevance of the context

  • Interpretation as reconstruction

Teaching and learning as symbolic interaction

Teaching and learning as symbolic interaction

  • All activities in classroom are part of complex procedures of communicative action within the frame of an institution

  • Participants act on the basis of rules and structures which form a constantly renewed „social order“

  • Doing classroom-analysis means to describe the daily negotiation of meaning

2 the relevance of the context

2. The relevance of the context

  • The contextuality of each communicative action is taken into consideration, which means: each act of speech is to be analysed in it´s interactive environment

  • Indexicality: the way communicative action is embedded in structures of time, space, situation and knowledge of daily life

3 interpretation as reconstruction

3. Interpretation as reconstruction

  • Interpretive research of classroom- interaction wants to make clear how interaction functions by reconstructing the process of meaning-making.

Interpretive classroom analysis and interpretive approach of re


Active and meaning-making role of the subject

Relevance of the context

Interpretive approach (Jackson 1997, 2004)

Interpretation:Religious practise as meaning-making process

Representation: how is religion embedded in actions, life-world practise etc.?

Interpretive classroom-analysis and interpretive approach of RE

The coldness scene example for an incident

The „coldness-scene“- example for an incident

Incidents some remarks on the term

Incidents –some remarks on the term

  • „Phenomenon“ (H. Mehan 1979): an event during the course of interaction which is relevant for the participants themselves

  • „Surprising phenomenons“ (S. Heil/ H.G. Ziebertz 2003): sequences in interaction which can´t be explained immediately and can´t be deducted from theory.

Incidents remarks on the term

Incidents- remarks on the term

3. „cases“ (eg.Kallmeyer/ Schütze 1976): examples for special interactive patterns beneath the surface of interaction

4. „Critical Incidents“ (D. Tripp 1993): critical events in the lesson with a challenge for professional judgement on teaching.

Incidents remarks on the term1

Incidents- remarks on the term

5. Incident as key-category for classroom-research (Gogolin/Kroon 2000): incidents are phenomenons on the surface of interaction, which can tell something about the deeper structure of an interactive situation – like an iceberg looming with it´s peak out of the water.

Incident analysis

„In the concept of incident-analysis an incident, for example in a teaching- lesson, represents a hidden aspect of the overall structure of the interactive happening. It serves as a key for comprehending the overall context , which is deeply rooted in the pedagogic tradition and the cultural concepts of the concerned country.“ (Herrlitz 1994, S.13)

Incident remarks on the term summary

Incident- remarks on the term Summary

  • Incidents are unusual, sometimes critical events on the surface of interaction. They are „little peaks“ looming out of the stream of interaction.

  • Incidents are selected on the basis of open observations which are guided by basic questions.

  • Incidents are cristallisations of a problem which is related to the basic question of the research (e.g.: dialogue and conflict).

Method of analyzing incidents

Method of analyzing incidents

  • Making decisions on the basis of criteria: which lessons should be recorded?

  • Videotaping the lesson,

  • Reviewing the lesson via tape: Pre-selection of „incident-suspicious“, sequences – guided by the basic question of research,

  • Making a list with preliminary descriptions of the sequences,

Incident analysis

  • Describing the context; delimitation of the incidents by embedding them in the course of

  • Interaction

  • Exact transcription on the basis of a simple transcription guide

  • Paraphrasis of the sequence and preliminary interpretation

  • Interpretation in detail by using the transcription

Incident analysis

  • Enlarging the interpretation by adding

  • different „readings“ of the incident

  • Enlargement of the analysis:

  • search for incidents with a similar structure;

  • search for incidents which can contrast the

  • Interpretation,

  • Comparative analysis

Is incident analysis compatible with ethnographic research

Is Incident-Analysis compatible with ethnographic research?

According to C. Geertz [1973] an ethnographic description of culture is:

  • Interpretive

  • Interested to discover the procedure of the social discourse

  • documentary (it snatches away the event from the transitory moments)

  • microscopical („intense aquaintance with tiny little things“)

Incident analysis

Incident-analysis is in touch with the ground

of facts and phenomenons.

Incident-Analysis is „thick description“(C.Geertz)

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