The Problem is not new!

von Steffen Lepa

“We saw that the problem is not new. Since the beginning of social
research, students have tried to combine the value of detailed qualitative
applications with the advantages of more formalized techniques which
could be managed on a mass basis.
We saw, furthermore, that a line along which such an integration
could come about emerges. The Open Interview is indispensable at the beginning of
any study where it classifies the structure of a problem in all its details. It
is also invaluable at the end of a study for anyone who is not satisfied
with the mere recording of the low correlations we usually obtain. Good
research consists in weaving back and forth between Open Interviews and the more
cut-and-dried procedures.
The conversion of Open Interviews into sets of specific poll questions has shown
up a new skill in our field and one which has found much too little
The hope might be expressed that this paper will not be regarded
as an attempted judgment in the Open Interview controversy. It tries to show that
the problem consists of many different parts. For some problems the Open Interview
is indispensable; for others it is definitely wasteful. Often we do not
really know the right answer. In these last cases the prudent administrator
will do best to look for the combination of methods best adapted
to the specific research task on hand.”

Lazarsfeld, P. F. (1944). The Controversy Over Detailed Interviews—an Offer for Negotiation. Public Opinion Quarterly, 8(1), 38–60. doi:10.1086/265666


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