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Methoden der empirischen SozialforschungAction 4: Exchange

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Action 4 ‒ Exchange: Gaining Applicable Skills in Practice through Practical-Empirical Implementations

Action Speaker

Fraya Frehse (University of São Paulo, Brazil)

Action Steering Committee

Fraya Frehse (University of São Paulo), Gaurav Raheja (IIT Roorkee), Angela Million (GCSMUS Speaker), Ignacio Castillo (GCSMUS Scientific Coordinator) and practitioners such as members of NGOs, development agencies and/or administration and ministries in partner countries.


Building on the outcomes of other Actions (conferences, workshops, teaching-research-courses, Ph.D. theses), social science methods are contrasted with methods of policymaking and design, in order to identify blind spots, points of intersections and chances for synergy. Mirroring the principle and format of the teaching-research-courses, a scholar in conjunction with a representative of a development cooperation organization/agency, will select a topic within the SDG #11’s targets and put together a road map for a practical-empirical implementation in which to

‒ first, co-produce with local counterparts (practitioners, public servants, activists) a policymaking/design oriented research method and,

‒ then, test it by putting it to practice in a model-case project in order to trigger an ensuing process of refinement.

Suitability and necessity of action

The practical-empirical implementations will offer participants a chance to put methods into practice by tailoring them to particular contextual circumstances. They will enable a group of 2‒10 participants to seek ways whereby critically addressing the mismatch between the use of research methods and their potential application in architecture, urban design, planning and policymaking. In that regard, at least 2 extramural actors – be it public servants, practitioners or NGOs/CBOs members – will partake in the frame of the model-case projects, as a way to further expand the involvement of external, locally-based stakeholders engaged in development cooperation.

Practical-empirical implementations offer the chance to methodologically re-assess the assorted thematic dimensions of SDG #11’s targets and therewith develop alternative, topical and innovative policies and design solutions. At the same time, they will provide practitioners, public servants, scholars and other participants (e.g. members of NGOs or CBOs) with the opportunity to get acquainted with innovative methods of the social sciences, contrast them with their own methods and co-produce an enhancement.


Each practical-empirical implementation will be collectively organized and implemented by a scholar/practitioner/representative of development cooperation organizations/agencies in the developing countries (host) and a counterpart from a network partner (visitor).

Since the practical-empirical implementations are meant to boost cooperation, testing and iteration, they are to unfold in three steps within 2 years.

(1) In step 1, the stakeholders jointly and concisely develop the practical-empirical implementation, namely

a. the thematic content (which target(s) of the goal?),

b. the methodological content (which social science, policymaking and design research methods?) and

c. the empirical content (in which geographical, institutional and operational context shall the pilot-project be carried out?) of the practical-empirical implementation.

(2) In step 2, the visitor will travel to the host’s selected location in the developing countries to inform both the thematic and methodological content to then initiate the process of co-production.

(3) In step 3, stakeholders meet again to (retrospectively and drawing on the participants’ reports) analyze the overall experience of the practical-empirical implementation and disseminate results, e.g. by publishing 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, selected partners will conduct the implementations. For 2022/2023 and 2023/2024, there will be an open call for the implementations. Network members from the developing countries can submit applications with initial suggestions for the thematic, methodological and (if possible) empirical content. The lead partners responsible for this action will then select proposals and do a matching with suitable partners from the network (both substantially and methodologically). Each of the practical-empirical implementations is to be held in the country of the chosen candidate. Preference will be given to South-South partnerships, in order to promote the transition to self-sufficiency of the network.

Time Line

Action 4 – Exchange: Gaining Applicable Skills in Practice through Practical-Empirical Implementations
(Action Speaker: Fraya Frehse, Brazil)
1 pilot

  4 projects
   4 projects



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