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Action 2 ‒ Experience: Gaining Applicable Skills in Research through Combined Teaching-Research-Courses

Action Speaker

Gabriel Faimau [1](University of Botswana, Botswana)

Action Steering Committee

Gabriel Faimau [2] (Action Speaker), Nina Baur [3] (GCSMUS Speaker), N.N. (GCSMUS Scientific Coordinator), Hubert Knoblauch [4] (TU Berlin), Elmar Kulke [5] (HU Berlin) and Andreas Brück [6] (TU Berlin)


Methodological skills per se are usually very abstract and hard to operationalize for actual research. Correspondingly, their effectuation has to be practiced by applying them to a specific research topic.

In Germany, in disciplines like sociology, geography, urban planning and architecture, this challenge is tackled by a format of combined teaching-research-courses (“Lehrforschungsprojekte”). In these courses, a professor/lecturer and students together conduct a small research project. These courses put methodology into practice, include advanced methodological training on specific methods and train data analysis and writing skills. Research results should lead into publications.

Drawing on topics from the targets into which the SDG #11 [7] is broken down as potential examples, the aim of this action is to experience methodologies, by transferring the concept of combined teaching-research-courses into specific local contexts

Suitability and necessity of action

To gain applicable methodological skills, research methods ought to be applied in a specific context and their effectuation has to be practiced. Combined teaching-research-courses provide an application, a communication setting for methods and a setting for development of pedagogical skills (to foster transfer in university teaching). Combined teaching-research-courses thus have a threefold goal:

(1) They will provide scholars from the developed countries with the opportunity to gain teaching and research skills in the developing countries and learn from local methodology. It is also possible to organize a South-South-Exchange – then the scholars from the sending developing country will gain teaching and research skills in another developing country.

(2) They will provide scholars from developing countries with the opportunity to further their teaching and research skills in social science methodology as well as to publish their research.

(3) They will provide local students from developing countries with advanced methodological training.


Each combined teaching-research-course will be co-taught by

‒ a lecturer/scholar from a developing country (host) and

‒ a lecturer/scholar from a network partner university either from a developed or developing country (but usually TU Berlin) (visitor).

As this application aims at building close long-term contacts, the courses will ideally consist of three steps in the course of 2 years:

(1) In step 1, both partners will meet at TU Berlin for up to 3 months in order to collaboratively develop both a substantial research idea, the methodological concept and course outline. Access to TU’s resources – e.g. library and labs – will be provided. Alternatively, colleagues can develop the concept online.

(2) In step 2, the partners will meet at the host’s university for 4 to 8 weeks in order to co-teach the course and in parallel collect data.

(3) In step 3, both partners will meet at TU Berlin again for up to 3 months in order to analyze and publish the research results, e.g. in form of a peer-reviews journal paper or as an open access book.

Participation in the Action and Selection Criteria

In 2020/2021, the concept will be tested and (if necessary) modified. It will then be introduced to network members both at the conferences and workshops and via email and collectively approved.

From 2022 onward, selected partners will conduct the courses. For 2022/2023 and 2023/2024, there will be an open call for the courses. Any network partner can apply for hosting a course, suggesting a substantial research question and a methodology they wish to apply in a teaching-research-course. The action steering committee will then select proposals and do a matching with suitable visiting partners (both substantially and methodologically). While preference is given to scholars from the network, suitable partners also might come from other German universities. The courses are to be held in the host country.

Time Line

Action 2 – Experience: Gaining Applicable Skills in Research through Combined Teaching-Research-Courses
(Action Speaker: Gabriel Faimau [8], Botswana)
      1 pilot
   3 courses
    3 courses
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