Adult education research is a part of biographical turn in social science research. Because of that, both research and theory became more dynamic. Biographical methodology is by no means strange for Polish researchers. Florian Znaniecki introduced the method in sociology and established it in Poland. Starting from 1921, it was used in a form of a written competition (autobiography) amongst different groups. How this method was established in adult education research and how it is used is the focus of this article. First, it concerns the development of biographical research and its popularity in social sciences, followed by the impact of this method upon adult education. Especially, contribution to English and German research is described as it is where the influence is the biggest (West et al.). Third, it touches on the issues of biographicity and narration. It is followed by the methodology of biographical research with emphasis on both collection and analysis of biographical data; there are also named different QDAs (Qualitative Data Analysis) as well as Grounded Theory. Fifth, the focus is on biographicity and biographical learning with Peter Alheit's research taken into particular account. Afterwards, two theoretical contributions based on biographical data are presented in depth - biographical trajectory as a concept of suffering (Glaser & Strauss, Riemann & Schütze), and floating as a concept of going through crises in life (A. Bron). These are the concepts which contributed to biographical learning, to understanding changes in life and struggling with own identity. Finally, the consequences of biographicity and biographical research for adult educators are discussed.
Alheit P., Biographical learning. Theoretical outline, challenges and contradictions of a new approach in adult education, [w:] The Biographical approach in European adult education, red. P. Alheit i inni, Verband Wiener Volksbildung/ESREA, Wien 1995.
Alheit P., Transitorische Bildungsprozesse: Das „biographische Paradigma“ in der Weiterbildung, [w:] Weiterbildung und Gesellschaft. Grundlagen wissenschaftlicher und beruflicher Praxis in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, red. W. Mader, Bremen 1993.
Amstrong P., Stories adult learners tell… Recent research on how and why adults learn, [w:] Proceedings of the 39th Annual Adult Education Research Conference (AERC), red. J.C. Kimmel, San Antonio, TX: University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio 1998.
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