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From a Respondent to a Narrator: Biographical Interviews with POLPAN Respondents (Danuta Życzyńska-Ciołek’s research from 2016)

This collection includes 23 biographical narrative interviews conducted in 2016 with individuals who had previously participated in the Polish Panel Survey POLPAN in 1987/8, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2008 and 2013. POLPAN is a quantitative questionnaire-based survey of the social structure. All the interviewees represented the oldest generation of Poles: in 2016 they were between 74 to 94 years old. They lived in different places throughout Poland.

The research endeavour which produced the interviews was a follow-up to a pilot project entitled ‘From a Random Sample Study to a Study of Specific Cases: Biographical Interviews with POLPAN Respondents’, conducted at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, in 2014 under the supervision of Dr. Piotr Filipkowski. Both projects aimed to supplement the quantitative data with free-flowing narratives of respondents and to obtain qualitative material that could serve as the basis for independent analysis of life histories and narratives about life, the experience of war, work in communist Poland, the situation of the elderly, subjective perception of one’s place in the social structure, individual agency, fate, turning points in life, sources of satisfaction with life, etc. 

This interview collection sought to preserve and complement the assumptions made in the pilot project regarding the maximum diversity of interviewees in terms of their specific characteristics such as education, socio-occupational groups, region and size of domicile. Since the pilot collection was to be expanded, a relatively large number of interviews with respondents with lower education levels, living in rural areas or in small towns were conducted under the current project.

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