Diversity is our Strength
Knowledge and competence are standing in the focus of WISDOM, a new research department founded in 2007. In recent years, knowledge and competence were spotlighted more and more by public interest. These topics are complex and highly interrelated, interdisciplinary from the scientific point of view and at the same time important elements of ongoing political discourses. No matter if national and international debates deal with education policy, health-care policy, social policy or economic policy, this phrase keeps on showing up as a natural element of the reference framework: we are living in an age of unstoppable, rapid changes, which is earmarked by a transition towards a knowledge society. Against this background, the research department WISDOM examines the knowledge society’s development and its scopes for design from a basic research perspective as well as from an applied research perspective.
Concerning basic research, WISDOM foremost deals with…
… the driving forces, frameworks, and empirical factors of social, economic and technical change processes, which are subsumed by the overall concept named “knowledge society”;
… the scope and validity of approaches to research, which are used to analyse and to describe those change processes, e.g. with a systems-theoretical, with a knowledge-sociological or with a learning-pedagogical notion;
… the development potentials – but also with the obstacles – which have to be considered while using respectively implementing knowledge-based structures in enterprises (keywords : knowledge management, knowledge transfer) or in educational systems (keyword: transitions of education from school to vocation).
Concerning applied research, WISDOM foremost focuses on the development of strategies for wider diffusion and systematic usage of knowledge in production and service systems, in education and vocational training and in further education.
The following topics are predominant:
- design of innovation and competition strategies for the future trends of knowledge-based economies;
- development and testing of strategies to exhaust limits of knowledge reserves and to activate qualified workforce (knowledge work);
- development and testing of strategies to structure knowledge flows and to activate knowledge reserves in enterprises (knowledge management) as well as between enterprises and universities (knowledge transfer);
- development and testing of strategies and tools to utilise new forms of knowledge transfer (electronic learning, electronic human resource management);
- new forms of communication and knowledge dissemination in science.
WISDOM faces these challenges in a multi-perspective way – in practical application projects as well as in theory-oriented basic research projects. A wide range of represented scientific disciplines in this research department – from social sciences to library and information science, from informatics to historical science – permits this approach. Whenever possible, WISDOM’s personnel tries to integrate its research results in its university courses, especially in bachelor and master classes at the faculty of social science of the Ruhr-University and in master classes at the department of computer science at the University of Applied Sciences in Gelsenkirchen.
Currently WISDOM is working on the following projects:
- educational changeover from school to vocation;
- knowledge transfers, e.g. evaluation of the technology transfer ring skilled trades in North Rhine-Westphalia;
- open access publication as a new form of communication in science.
Concerning empirical work, in these projects the following core competences of the research department WISDOM are applied:
- planning, design and realisation of project and programme evaluation;
- design, realisation and analysis of empirical surveys – qualitative as well as quantitative;
- secondary analyses panel data and official statistics;
- realisation of online surveys, including statistical analyses and interpretation of results.
If needed because of concrete research tasks or practical problems, WISDOM cooperates with the other research departments of IAT, with “Health Industries and Quality of Life” and with “Innovation, Space and Culture”.
On the national level, WISDOM is involved in numerous scientific and economical networks, e.g. in the German Society for Information Science and Information Practice (DGI) and the German Society for Computer Science (GI), and cooperates intensively with partners such as “Landes-Gewerbeförderungsstelle des nordrhein-westfälischen Handwerks” (LGH), foundation “Partner for Schools North Rhine-Westphalia”, Institute for Structural Policy and Economic Development in Halle (isw), Institute for Library and Information Science at Humboldt-University in Berlin, Ministry for Intergenerational Affairs, Family, Women and Integration of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Ministry for Schools and Further Education of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia or with Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.