From January 9 through the 13, 2012, a workshop took place at the CUAS in Cologne Germany geared towards developing a set of phenomenological and hermeneutical methods that could be used in research on intercultural communication.  The workshop was attended by an international group of scholars, a group of 4 business women employed by German and international companies and organizaitons based in the Cologne/Bonn area, and by a group of international students. The workshop was segmented into two halves. On January 9 through 11, the team of scholars met to begin the process of adapting the phenomenological and hermeneutical methods such that they could be applied in a role playing setting to get at the meaning of body language and gestures in intercultural job interviews. On January 12 and 13, the business women and students were in attendance: on January 12 the team of scholars presented the methods to the participants and practiced the first role plays. On the 13, a large number of role plays were performed and initial feedback on the effectiveness of the methods was given.

Method Workshop - Preparation for Poland Project


In the May and June of 2013, a group of four students (two students with a Spanish background and two with a German background) took part in a brief project to further develop the phenomenological and hermeneutical methods for use in a larger project that was already in the planning (the Poland Project). The area of application in this particular project was Spanish-German intercultural communication with an interest in disclosing some essential  - and especially incongruent - cognitive schemas underlying the interpretation of gestures and facial expressions.

The workshop was very productive in helping to produce a list of core texts from esp. Husserl, Heidegger and Gadamer that should be read by students interested in employing phenomenological and hermeneutical methods in areas where introspective research. These texts were made available to the participants in the Poland Project.

Poland Project



This project was designed with a two-fold interest: 1) to compare and contrast the phenomenological and hermeneutical approaches to introspective research with two other introspective methods that have become established in the empirical sciences, namely Thinking Aloud (TA) and Integrated Problem and Decision Reporting (IPDR), and 2) to expand our knowledge on Polish/German cultural differences that might influence intercultural communication in a business setting. 

Regarding introspection, we wish to see to what extent the scepticism of psychologists such as e.g. Nisbett, Wilson, Miller, Simon, and Mandler concerning the ability of individuals to raise cognition to a conscious level is justified. Which types of cognition can be raised to consciousness and which remain beyond our reach? How well can those types that can be accessed by consciousness be described verbally? Do the two methodolodical approaches (phenomenological/hermeneutical vs TA/IPDR) lead to qualitative and or quantitatively different results?