Interpretative research with vignettes

Publication: Chapter in book/Conference proceedingChapter in edited volume


Vignettes are typified descriptions of situations that can be used as data collection tools in qualitative individual or group interviews. This chapter provides an overview of different concepts or uses of vignettes (e.g., Jenkins et al. 2010; Kandemir and Budd 2018; Miko-Schefzig 2022; Stiehler et al. 2012; Wodak 2015) and discusses their possible contributions to various empirical questions. The different situational definitions and their empirical capture in vignettes, as well as – building on this – their use in different interview settings, are presented and discussed using concrete examples from the authors' research. The situational focus integrates both actor and material aspects (e.g., artefacts; Lueger and Froschauer 2018) into the interpretive analysis of social phenomena, making it multimodal (Höllerer et al. 2018). Situation is an old but recently rediscussed sociological concept that has been taken up by different theoretical strands as an empirical focus. The definition of a situation can be seen as a continuum, ranging from an interaction between those present, for example in the tradition of Goffman (2009) to larger, situational phenomena whose analysis also includes the level of organizations and discourses, as in Clarke's understanding (Clarke 2012).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Interpretive Research Methods
EditorsMichaela Pfadenhauer , Maggie Kusenbach
Publication statusSubmitted - 2024


  • vignettes
  • vignette-based focus groups
  • qualitative methods

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