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?

When doing the phenomenological anaylsis, we draw upon long-term memory to perform "respective verbalization" that is based upon fairly complex interpretions of cognition and phenomena presented to consciousness: Does this lead to a falsification of data, as Ericsson suggests ("inference" instead of "remembering" - Ericsson and Simon, Verbal Reports as Data, 1980)? To what extent does the participant's use of video tape recordings as a reference when doing the various analyses and producing the reports counter the distortion that might otherwise result from the termporal delay?

Eight Polish students from the Adam Mickiewicz University (Poznań, Poland) and eight students from the Technische Hochschule in Cologne, Germany, took part in this project. The students were asked to perform role plays, four of which tool place in Poznań, and four of which took place in Germany. Four students took part in each role play, two from Poznań and two from Cologne. In all role plays, each participant was given a specific role. The role plays in Poznań simulated a job interview; those in Cologne roughly two weeks later simulated the first employee evaluations in a new job.


This is a group picture of the participants taken at the Technische Hochschule in Cologne on the 23rd of May, 2014

Those participants from Cologne who were doing the phenomenological and hermeneutical analyses were prepared for the task in a proseminar which took place in Cologne in the winter of 2013. The Polish students doing the phenomenological and hermeneutical analyses attended several workshops on the subject prior to the actual role plays. All students were instructed on how to do their respective analyses, but - in keeping with the ideology in the natural sciences - the TA and IPDR students were not given a lot of theoretical background information. Preparatory trips to Poznań were undertaken by John Stanley from the 5th to the 7th March, 2014, and from the the 16th to the 17th April, 2014. The role plays in Poland were performed from the 5 to the 7 of May; those in Germany took place two weeks later, from the 21 to the 23 May. We decided to have the role plays take place in two different countries to see if the cultural setting altered cultural predominance. The participants were asked to describe the series of events, in particular their reception of phenomena/sense data that they perceived to be signs (language, para-language, body language, especially gesture and facial expressions), that influenced the development and outcome of the role play. Special attention was to be given to elements of communication that appeared to the recepient to be problematic. All role plays were video taped. Students doing both the TA and phenomenological analyses took notes during the role plays, but the actual reports were written directly after the role plays while watching the videos. All participants in any given role play were required to watch the video recording again as a group when writing the IPDRs and the hermeneutical analyses.


Here one of the Polish students is working on her phenomenological report while watching the video tape in the language lab.



Here a group who had completed the role play and the individual analyses is working on their IPDR in Cologne, Germany.



Many thanks go to Katarzyna Macedulska, who works in the English Department at the Adam Mickiewicz University. Without her extensive support the project would not have been possible.



 Basic Outcomes - Pending!

We are currently analysing the various reports from the role plays and comparing them with the videos such that we can provide an assessment of the project and the two sets of methods. Some of the videos are being analysiized using ELAN and an adapted form of the anotation system called Neuroges to quantify the results. Two students from the Technische Hochschule in Cologne who have a Polish/German background are assisting in the analysis.


 Karolina Jezewska


My name is Karolina Jezewska, I`m 22 years old and a student of the Technische Hochshule in Cologne. After completing a communications theory course, I decided to get involved in this project with Dr. John W. Stanley to do some research on introspective communication theory. Once we have viable results, we will publish them on our website. Our goal is to strenghten intercultural competences and to create an understanding for cultural differences. 



Kasia Jezewska

My name is Kasia Jezewska and my interest in this line of research was aroused in a communications theory course taught by Dr. Stanley. To help him with this work and to broaden my knowledge, I`ve decided assist him with this project. Through a extensive and detailed introduction into the subject of introspective communication research, my sister and I we were prepared well for the task of analysizng the material. My hope is that we work well together, are successful in evaluating the methods, and are able to heighten our sensitivity for the role that body language plays in communication.