Research-based learning at the University of Bremen starts as early as the introductory study phase and accompanies students throughout their studies.
Itallows students to experiencewhat it means to carry out research as a cultural specialistor anthropologistfrom the very outset. As a student you gain full exposure to - and simultaneously shape - the entire range of research processes. You form an integral part of your own chosen research field and in addition to learning how to use specific methods, learn first-hand through our own personal experience.
Research workshops are organized that provide students with full supervision and the backing of tutors and staff. Students and faculty staff work together as a team and learn from one another.
During the personal research phase, you’ll gradually begin to move away from Campus life towards the world of work in the City and beyond. As such research-based learning appeals to those planning to remain in academia beyond undergrad studies as well as those who want to leave university on completion of studies. You’ll also have the chance to establish contacts with people already involved in the types of specialized fields your research focuses on and learn exactly how things work in practice.
Research-based learning entails interdisciplinary research and learning, while encouraging you to further orient yourself vocationally.
In addition to the exciting and unique experiences bound up with personal research, students continue to prepare for their Bachelor’s thesis which is the culmination of studies. You’ll learn from the very start what methods to use, how advanced materials are interpreted and finally how these can be put on paper in interesting ways.
The path leading to a completed research project is made up of various individual steps: identifying a research field with an appropriate question; gaining access; participant observation; clarifying potential ethical concerns; learning various methods; and lastly putting research findings on paper in a fully formulated fashion. All of this represents an intensive challenge of both timing and planning while at the same time being a valuable study experience. Below we present two examples of fieldwork showing how research-based learning works in practiceat the University of Bremenand how research questions are formulated.
As a general rule you engage in two separate research phases during your Bachelor’s Program in Cultural Research. Your freely chosen personal research field is designed to take a closer look atcurrent sociopolitical issues from a Cultural Research perspective. The initial goal is to identify an appropriate field of enquiry. We illustrate how this process works using two real-life examples:
Two third-semester students discovered their research field after being inspired by reading the novel "Invisible Ellen" by Shari Shattuck. The book tells the story of two unequal women who meet and develop an unusual friendship: one of the two enjoys observing her environment while the other is completely blind. The students were able to sharpen their focus through in-depth exchanges with fellow students and teaching staff, and ultimately identify their own research field at the Georg-Droste-School for Sight and Visual Perception FÖZ. The two conducted research on how the self and others are perceived in the area of disability research and were excited by what they discovered.
Another student found her research subject in her own living environment. She chose to focus onall the familiar sights and sounds, and then decided to start researching the transformation and gentrification of the Bremen neighbourhood in which she lived. The student focused in particular on district residents and on the transformation she was directly able to observe in her neighborhood.
In addition to receiving backing from tutors and faculty staff, you’ll receive further support from co-students in more advanced semesters and as such develop team-working skills. This can often lead to unplanned new research projects that develop in spontaneous ways. By the end students sometimes decide they want to extend research in their given field and explore underlying themesin greater depth.
In order to make our research findings accessible to other students and disseminate findings to a wider public we present our work at the conferences Research Insights.
Lara Krone & Marie Sommer