In 1989 two methodologically very different empirical studies on the same subject were published, dealing both with fixed-term contracts and the impact of the German Employment Promotion Act 1985 (EPA; „Beschäftigungsförderungsgesetz 1985“). The one carried out by the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB) as a large-scale representative research on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Labour was to evaluate the effects of the aforementioned EPA. The other one carried out at the University of Göttingen was designed as a qualitative inquiry into the variety of employers’ motives behind the application of that type of contract and into the experiences and expectations of employees under the social and legal conditions of fixed-term contracts. Both studies offer also quite a number of interesting socio-legal findings. And the existence of two reports concerned with the same social phenomenon means a rare chance of synoptical reading of the results as well as of the methods applied to get them. The following is a kind of coordinated presentation which follows a common structure but lets both articles fully independent in their discussion of the results and in their mutual critique of methods. It aims at contributing to clarify the respective advantages and risks of „qualitative“ and „quantitative“ approaches in empirical socio-legal research. 1. The report on the research project of the Berlin Wissenschaftszentrum on the EPA starts with describing the general labour market significance of fixed-term employment in the FRG which has considerably grown above all up to 1985 and which has become a kind of normal initial stage of employment accounting for almost half (44 %) of all new recruitments. To that the EPA contributed less than expected or feared. It aims at stimulating new recruitments, above all of unemployed, by allowing fixed-term contracts for a term of 18 months without any justification. But whereas one can observe on the first level of evaluation a rather frequent application of the EPA by employers in the sense of formal reference to the law, there is much less substantial utilisation of the law in the sense of concluding fixed-term contracts which previously would have needed a legally acceptable justification. And on the third level of evaluation, that is additional recruitments under reference to and due to the EPA, the law has brought about only a minor effect: 1,5 percent of all fixed-term contracts in the private economy in 1985-1987 might be directly attributed to the EPA; if one includes indirect effects of the law the proportion goes up to some 4 percent. 2. It is a result of the study from Göttingen that in the firms fixed-term contracts of employment are concluded for different reasons. They don’t serve only to master a temporary need of personnel by personnel policy, but also to carry out an engagement by reserve, to adjourn the decision over a „full“ engagement. In this case the firms are interested in avoiding a possibly following dismissal; besides the legal protection against dismissal the social and organizational process of the dismissal is important. Corresponding to the different forms to use the fixed-term contracts in the firms uniform effects of fixed-term contracts do not appear – as for the progress of occupation, the conditions of employment and the internal segmentation as well as the ways and conditions of acting by the work’s councils. But uniform effects do appear on the work situations of fixed-term employees. Whereas a great part of them supposes to be able to accept a fixed-term employment with regard to their experiences and projects of their occupational life, the fixed-term employees experience the work in fixed-term employment relationships generally as a burden. This is to describe as a multidimensional uncertainty of orientation regarding the future employment relationship and its preconditions and the whole deciding over a possible permanent employment. Linked hereto is an uncertainty about the applicability of internal norms also for the fixed-term employees and about their status in the firm.