With its educational system, the research focus entitled “Educational research” concentrates on a specific sector affected by globalisation, institutional change and cultural pluralisation. This area of emphasis focuses on five fields of research.

Fields of research

The first field of research is dedicated to the institutionalization of education and the change in educational venues. In this context, in the past few years, the international comparative studies have fomented discontent, which – to a certain extent – has had and is having an enormous impact on the politics and institutions of education and learning. With advancing internationalisation/globalisation, specific changes have been identified, which are blurring boundaries in terms of educational venues being places where knowledge is traditionalised, and that require deeper analysis. This field of research is integrally connected to the research focus entitled “Globalisation and institutional change”.

A second field of research concerns the role that process conditions in family, school and non-formal educational settings play on the development of subject-related and subject-transcending competencies in children and adolescents, also from the perspective of diverse social and ethnic groups. This work will concentrate, among others, on the influence that transformational und developmental processes in educational systems have on the evolution of social and institutional learning milieus and determine which conclusions can be drawn to help shape teaching and learning processes aimed at promoting individuals and fostering equal opportunity.

The third field of research is specifically devoted to the study of classroom teaching and learning processes looked at from the perspective of school-education, pedagogic psychology and socialisation theory.

The fourth field of research deals with the question of the professionalism and professionalisation of the players in the education system. Guiding models and structures in teacher training are central issues alongside requirement structures in pedagogical fields of action and the competencies relating thereto.

The fifth field of research ultimately concentrates on how social and ethnic inequality arises at educational transitional junctions and at the transition from the educational system into the job market. One special area will examine how specific educational system structures affect the permeability of educational pathways and determine the extent to which institutional structures can have a compensatory or intensifying effect on inequality.

Methodologically, the research conducted on this focal area is characterised by a combination of qualitative and quantitative techniques; for these the Center of Methods in Social Sciences provides an outstandingly good infrastructure. Moreover, the expertise in research methodology and the existing and envisioned projects joining the participating researchers allow multi-method access via the combination of using longitudinal studies (e.g. National Educational Panel, TIMSS transition), secondary analyses using the existing microdata (e.g. SOEP, PISA), laboratory-based and quasi-experimental designs in ecologically sound contexts, contrastive case analyses and developmental research projects.
Hypotheses and research methods specific to each discipline will be innovatively linked together in the thematic areas and are partially embedded in national interdisciplinary research programmes (specifically the National Educational Panel, Panel for Teacher Training) as well as international research contexts.