Prof. Dr. Kathrin Aghamiri
E‑Mail: k.aghamiri (at) fh-muens­ter (dot) de

Prof. Dr. Raingard Knauer
E‑Mail: raingard.knauer (at) fh-kiel (dot) de

Prof. Dr. Benedikt Sturzenhecker
E‑Mail: benedikt.sturzenhecker (at) uni-ham­burg (dot) de

The Institute for Participation and Education car­ri­es out rese­arch in the field of demo­cra­tic edu­ca­ti­on (Demokratiebildung). It exami­nes the pre­re­qui­si­tes, methods of imple­men­ta­ti­on and the effects of demo­cra­tic edu­ca­ti­on wit­hin child and youth wel­fa­re orga­niz­a­ti­ons as well as at a local level. Our rese­arch inclu­des not only our own model pro­jects such as “Die Kinderstube der Demokratie” (“the nur­s­e­ry of demo­cra­cy”), during which we do open­ly enga­ge in in-depth scru­ti­ny as well as suf­fi­ci­ent (self)-criticism, but also other exter­nal con­cepts con­cer­ning par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on and poli­ti­cal edu­ca­ti­on among child­ren and young peop­le. Whereas in the begin­ning the empha­sis of our rese­arch acti­vi­ties lie pre­do­mi­nant­ly in the deve­lo­p­ment and expan­si­on of par­ti­ci­pa­to­ry prac­ti­ce con­cepts, in recent years our insti­tu­te has also star­ted a pro­cess of reflec­tion on such prac­ti­ce con­cepts under and fol­lowing imple­men­ta­ti­on. Research acti­vi­ties are con­duc­ted through rele­vant pro­jects but also as an inte­gral part of final the­ses at uni­ver­si­ty level.


Further topics cen­tral to our rese­arch acti­vi­ties are:

  • What com­pe­ten­ces are nee­ded by child care pro­fes­sio­nals in ear­ly child­hood edu­ca­ti­on and day­ca­re cen­ters in order to pro­vi­de a set­ting con­du­ci­ve to demo­cra­tic education?
  • How do child care pro­fes­sio­nals, child­ren, par­ents, and others joint­ly go about estab­li­shing par­ti­ci­pa­to­ry demo­cra­tic prac­ti­ce during ever­y­day acti­vi­ties? This also means exami­ning how cer­tain con­cep­tu­al requi­re­ments are then app­lied in practice.
  • How can princi­ples sur­roun­ding child par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on in demo­cra­tic decisi­on-making that have pro­ven suc­cess­ful in ear­ly child­hood edu­ca­ti­on and day­ca­re cen­ters be app­lied to schools (pri­ma­ry and secon­da­ry), socio-edu­ca­tio­nal sup­port ser­vices, child and youth work, and decisi­on-making pro­ces­ses at a local level?


When for­mu­la­ting and designing our pro­jects we tend to fol­low the princip­le that rese­arch on issu­es con­cer­ning demo­cra­tic edu­ca­ti­on should in its­elf take demo­cra­tic princi­ples into account. We the­re­fo­re con­si­der tho­se invol­ved to be acti­ve agents enga­ged in co-pro­duc­ti­ve rese­arch with our insti­tu­te, and coope­ra­tively genera­ting rese­arch results com­pre­hen­si­ble to all par­ties invol­ved. A co-pro­duc­ti­ve rese­arch pro­cess should pro­vi­de a plat­form for mutu­al cla­ri­fi­ca­ti­on as well as streng­t­hen and impro­ve demo­cra­tic edu­ca­ti­on efforts in prac­ti­ce. Transparency sur­roun­ding rese­arch goals and methods is the­re­fo­re important here, along with mutual­ly agree­ab­le con­clu­si­ons to nego­tia­ti­ons over rese­arch findings.


In addi­ti­on to our own rese­arch pro­jects, the Institute for Participation and Education can pro­vi­de sup­port in the fol­lowing areas:

  • Development and imple­men­ta­ti­on of rese­arch and eva­lua­ti­on pro­jects con­cer­ning par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on and demo­cra­tic edu­ca­ti­on wit­hin child and youth wel­fa­re orga­niz­a­ti­ons and at a local level
  • Clarification of issu­es and metho­di­cal approa­ches con­cer­ning par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on and demo­cra­tic education
  • Generation and inter­pre­ta­ti­on of rese­arch results invol­ving all par­ties concerned
  • Participatory con­clu­si­on pro­cess con­cer­ning con­se­quen­ces for future impro­ve­ments in demo­cra­tic education