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Do Qualitative Data Help in Addressing Central American Violence? Research Note on Data Collection


  • Anika Oettler

    () (GIGA Institute of Latin American Studies)


Taking as its point of departure debates on the value of criminal statistics and victimization surveys, this article explores the methodological challenge of an alternative approach to Central American violence(s). How can we collect qualitative data that help address the social construction of (in)security? The research project “Public Spaces and Violence in Central America” used multiple data sources, including guided interviews and pupils’ essays. Drawing on research experience in Nicaragua, this paper asks, How can we collect data that reveal lifeworld experiences as well as hegemonic and counter-discourses on violence? Why is it crucial to keep a research diary? What is a “failed” or a “good” interview? This article argues for a research design based on theoretical considerations, impulsiveness and, most notably, constant self-reflection.

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  • Anika Oettler, 2008. "Do Qualitative Data Help in Addressing Central American Violence? Research Note on Data Collection," GIGA Working Paper Series 76, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:wpaper:76

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sebastian Huhn & Anika Oettler & Peter Peetz, 2006. "Exploding Crime? Topic Management in Central American Newspapers," GIGA Working Paper Series 33, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
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    Central America; violence; insecurity; qualitative research; methodological problems; discourse analysis;

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