Every academic endeavour faces a number of problems that have to be dealt with. The goal of this chapter is to raise an awareness of the risks of falling into various traps awaiting researchers in comparative adult education. When pursuing an inquiry, a researcher in comparative studies can encounter three types of problems: (a) Difficulties typical for all research undertakings within the social sciences, such as objectivity, reliability, validity, selection, sustainability, reactivity, interpretation or consistency. Since these methodological difficulties are common to all research in the social sciences, this chapter does not pursue further discussion on the topic. (b) “Obstacles” – the most frequent are the lack of comparable information, variation in the quality and reliability of statistics, lack of uniform definitions, incurrence of travel expenses, communication problems, and the dependency on foreign contributors/information. Obstacles are considered as ‘normal’ because they must be tackled in almost every comparative research undertaking. They cannot be avoided and occur frequently enough to be consid¬ered as inherent to this type of study. Obstacles are often ‘objective’ or ‘exter¬nal’ to a researcher. (c) Pitfalls, however, are a more intricate phenomenon. They are often uncon¬scious mistakes, ignorant assumptions, or self-inflicted misinterpretations. A pitfall is usually a ‘self-styled danger,’ because the problem stems from the limited understanding of a researcher. Thus, a researcher, a team leader, or an editor is ultimately accountable for the pitfall. The objective of this chapter is to increase an understanding of pitfalls in com¬parative research, in order to prevent falling into such traps
Frankfurt am Main: Lang , 2008. 65-80 p.