Vignette Research: An Austrian phenomenological approach to empirical research

Evi Agostini, Hans Karl Peterlini

Publications: Contribution to bookChapterPeer Reviewed


In 2008, the New Secondary School Reform (Neue Mittelschule – NMS) was launched throughout Austria as a pilot project with the aim of avoiding early testing at the age of 10, initially intended as the integration of the NMS and the Allgemein bildende Höhere Schule (Austrian grammar schools). In conjunction with this educational policy steering, two studies were financed by the Austrian Fund for the promotion of scientific research Wissenschaftsfonds in order to examine the learning of pupils in all nine provinces of Austria. In order to investigate learning in heterogeneous learning groups, an innovative research instrument had to be developed. Hence, the data collected were condensed into concise descriptions of scenes of school experience, so called ‘phenomenologically oriented vignettes’. Contrary to those studies on learning that focus on the result and not on the process and its origins, a phenomenological-pedagogical approach, and thus a vignette, focuses on how learning takes place: i. e. which meaningful irritations the learners are exposed to on their path of experience. Thus learning, understood as experience, always occurs when the agreement between one's own expectations and the accomplishments is no longer given and the old experiences no longer 'carry'. The purpose of the chapter is to showcase the theoretical and empirical foundations of Vignette Research in the field of education within the Austrian political and educational framework.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEducation in Europe
Subtitle of host publicationContemporary Approaches across the Continent
EditorsThomas Feldges
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781003223528
ISBN (Print)9781032121970
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 503001 General education
  • 503032 Teaching and learning research

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