Participatory (Social) Research

Participatory (Social) Research: To link and apply research approaches that analyse society, shape and help it (06/2018-12/2021)


Research project in collaboration with the faculty of social science (HSZG).


Initial Position

On 01.06.2018, a project of the University of Applied Sciences Zittau/ Görlitz (HSZG) started, supported by the Saxon State Parliament (SMWK). Participatory research is an umbrella term for research approaches that "explore and influence social reality in partnership" (von Unger 2014, para. 1). The background to the research project is a steadily growing interest in linking research and intervention in Germany. The demand for participatory research is great, since the analytical perspectives of social science studies are translated into stakeholder-relevant perspectives - and vice versa.

A participatory research project is based on the principles of participatory research and involves all individuals and groups as active decision-makers in the entire research process who are affected by the respective topic and question (Bergold, Thomas, 2010, p. 336).

Project Objectives

In the context of the project – and in exchange with practice partners (including PartNet Berlin) – concepts, techniques and instruments of participatory research are to be analyzed, tested and further developed in an interdisciplinary manner. Under the guiding question "Who participates in the research process for what reasons, to what extent and at what point in time?", an intensive literature search and evaluation takes place in an analysis phase. The results on theoretical perspectives, methodological instruments and existing application experiences with participatory research are ensured in the form of a handout. As part of the Berliner Werkstatt (March 2020), an exchange with experts on participatory research should take place and be deepened in a workshop at the HSZG.


Explorative qualitative research methods and methods of empirical social research are used as a research approach. The aim is to develop new approaches to project participation that are transformative. Conditions that promote participation in a participatory research project will be investigated. Specific measures are broken down so that participatory research projects have a broad and sustainable impact. With the help of a possible case study, a process model will be designed that shows a form in which a participatory research project can be implemented collectively in practice (concrete approaches, measures, strategies, methods). Another focus is on the research phases: selection of the target group, participatory objectives, study design, data collection, data evaluation, exploitation of results. The aim is to provide scientists and partners in practice with tools (e.g. in the form of a brochure) that support the exchange between them to create optimal conditions for successful participation. The implementation of a topic-specific workshop is part of the overall project. Students, specialists, and experts (science, politics) are involved in it. The results serve the future development of a participatory research project in the Region Oberlausitz and are primarily aimed at interested scientists, students, and experts.

Project Funding

The project is funded by SMWK (Saxon State Ministry of Science, Culture and Tourism) and co-financed by tax funds based on the budget decided by the members of the Saxon State Parliament.


Project Lead

Foto: Prof. Dr. phil. Ingolf Prosetzky
Prof. Dr. phil.
Ingolf Prosetzky
Fakultät Sozialwissenschaften
Campus 02826 Görlitz
Furtstraße 2
Building I, Room 2.07
+49 3581 374-4287