Biographical Research Paper
This type of research takes objective indicators as inspiration such as educational attainment, position in the labor market, social networks, citizenship and, level of proficiency in the host country’s language.On the other hand, some studies use qualitative approaches to study the lives of descendants of immigrants.The methodological tools we use to study the lives of children of immigrants are situated at the crossroads of those two main approaches in the social sciences.This will allow us to collect information on objective events and trajectories as well as to their subjective evaluation by respondents.
They essentially analyze subjective biographical data about the individual’s entire existence, such as life stories or written biographies, whether about a short period of life or some specific dimensions of life.From a social psychology perspective, Barbeiro and Spini () use the LIVES history calendar and in-depth interviews to investigate the representations of justice and injustice perceived by Portuguese migrants in Switzerland.We add to this emerging literature by providing a detailed description of how our mixed-mode research design developed and was tested and implemented. , we introduce the biographical approach and life course perspective as well as develop common points between them.Nevertheless, each approach and its respective methodology allows us to study two different but complementary dimensions of life.Life course studies generally use quantitative methodological tools (mainly standardized questionnaires and life event calendars) to obtain objective life events and objective trajectories of groups or cohorts based on a regular and chronological time scale in months or years.Next, we present the tools: the in-depth biographical interview and the LIVES history calendar.Finally, we describe the mixed-mode design developed within the research project “From youth to adulthood: descendants of immigrants insertion in the Swiss society” funded between 20 by the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES: Overcoming Vulnerability: Life Course Perspective (NCCR LIVES).Researchers using those two approaches study lives in context (social, historical, structural contexts, etc.).They also consider individuals’ lives to be composed of different interrelated dimensions, linked to other individuals’ lives, and that individuals are not entirely socially determined (the idea of agency).In the following part, we will briefly introduce the main steps in the development of the biographical and the life course approaches to outline the links and complementary elements between them as well as the respective methodological tools we use.Stories of fictitious or real people have long been part of human lives through oral and written history. The thinkers of that time developed the Socratic maieutic and used “bios” (life histories) to better “know thyself.” Later, a well-known example of a biography is the New Testament, written around the first and second century, which tells the life history of Jesus.