Document Actions

You are here: FRIAS Video-Podcasts Lunch Lectures Mixed methods in interdisciplinary …

Mixed methods in interdisciplinary collaboration: A case study in Populations Genetics

Prof. Veronika Lipphardt, University College Freiburg, Science & Technology Studies

Prof. Peter Pfaffelhuber, University of Freiburg, Department of Mathematical Stochastics

Lunch Lecture, December 7, 2017


In human population genetics, so-called isolated populations (Finns, Basques,...) have recently attracted much attention. In particular, Roma have been studied in more than 150 studies by population geneticists under the premises that they are of Indian origin, and that they have been isolated ever since their arrival in Europe by endogamy. 

The academic field of Science Studies allows for investigating how researchers (e.g. population geneticists) address their research object (e.g. isolated populations). However, for fully understanding the societal implications of said genetic studies, as well as for a comprehensive understanding of the populations, one needs to adopt a multi-disciplinary approach, and employ both qualitative and quantitative methods. We argue that research teams studying isolated populations should likewise draw on a well-designed mix of qualitative and quantitative approaches if they wish to avoid tautologies and other problematic impacts on their results.