During the POLPAN Seminar on June 30th, Dr. Piotr Filipkowski and Danuta Zyczynska-Ciolek (Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences) presented a paper titled “From Studying a Random Sample to a Study on Poles’ Fates. Biographical Interviews with the Respondents of the Polish Panel Survey POLPAN.”


In autumn 2014 we realized – together with Katarzyna Andrejuk – a pilot study in which 21 biographical narrative interviews with the oldest POLPAN respondents were conducted. Firstly, we will summarize this research in brief, giving key characteristics of the life stories / life histories we had collected. Secondly, we will confront a single, exemplary life-narrative from our sample with biographical data on the same person coming from interviews conducted with her over three decades within the POLPAN study. This confrontation leads to more general questions about coherence (consistency) and discrepancy (incongruity) between a “respondent” and “narrator/autobiographer” – when both are the same person. Finally, going beyond specific methodological issues, we would like to discuss potentials and limitations of conducting this kind of qualitative, biographical research on a larger scale for the study of social structure, mobility and stability, change and continuity, as reflected in subjective perception, or – more general – consciousness of these phenomena at the last stage of one’s life.