The Project Office for Applied Social Research: an ideal and an idea
The everyday life of social actors contains many exciting tasks for the (social) sciences and their offshoots. Research in the service of society means keeping (at least) one ear tuned to the voices of civil society actors. The Project Office for Applied Social Research is dedicated to this principle, integrating political, administrative, societal, and economic issues into the daily lives of teachers and students. How? By having students and researchers working with project partners in cooperation projects to actively and methodically plan and carry out well founded need-based research—all customized, organized, and coordinated by the Project Office.
Knowledge requirements and knowledge creation
The Project Office for Applied Social Research was initiated in 2010 by Prof. Dr. Kai-Uwe Schnapp and Dr. Ronald Willner, drawing heavily on the methodology section of the Department of Political Science. Their goal was to facilitate regular interaction between the University and social practice, to transfer knowledge into practice, and foster research-based learning from practice. Whether for an association, public authority, party, or company, many areas can benefit from surveys, analyses or evaluations in practice, particularly when it comes to the consideration of target groups, needs analyses, or processes and structures.
A lively exchange between social actors and organizations on the one hand and the University on the other brings the relevant questions to inquisitive students and praxis-seeking researchers. Within cooperation projects, students test and deepen their empirical knowledge, researchers expand their skills, and cooperation partners gain relevant knowledge. Thus, the quality of teaching is directly increased and stakeholders gain a competent point of contact—a synergy-filled dynamic.