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Measuring Research Competencies

Comeptence Model

In order to give a systematic structure and approach to initiatives geared toward research-oriented teaching at Freie Universität, a competence model was developed at the School Pedagogy and School Improvement Research division. The RMRC-K-model (German title: RMRK-W-Modell; Thiel & Böttcher, 2014) is a generic competence model consisting of research skills and subject-specific content knowledge that transcends the cultures of individual disciplines and is geared toward the logic of the research process. It distinguishes among four skill dimensions: skills in reviewing the state of research, methodological skills, skills in reflecting on research, and communication skills, along with the dimension of content knowledge.

Competence Model
Competence Model

Skills in Reviewing the State of Research

  • Systematically reviewing the state of research
  • Evaluating relevant literature
  • Identifying contradictory findings
  • Identifying research need

Methodological Skills

  • Formulating and operationalizing research questions/hypotheses
  • Planning the research process
  • Selecting appropriate research methods
  • Applying adequate methods

Skills in Reflecting on Research

  • Reflecting on scholarly/scientific implications
  • Reflecting on methodological limitations
  • Reflecting on practical implications
  • Reflecting on ethical implications

Communication Skills

  • Writing a scholarly/scientific publication
  • Presenting scholarly/scientific findings

Content Knowledge of

  • Central/ key theories
  • Central research methods
  • Previous findings
  • Knowledge of the standards of scholarly/scientific communication

Goals of Research-oriented Teaching

With reference to the competence model, clear goals can be defined and achievement thereof can be evaluated. Students enrolled in master’s degree programs from different disciplinary cultures are given the opportunity to do the following by participating in research-oriented teaching:

  • systematically reviewing previous relevant findings regarding a topic, evaluating the quality of previous relevant publications, identifying research needs (“skills in reviewing the state of research”)investigating the research question in a methodologically controlled and systematic manner (“methodological skills”)
  • reflecting on scholarly/scientific findings with regard to their practical and ethical implications (“skills in reflecting on research”)communicating and discussing research findings according to professional standards (“communication skills”),
  • acquiring current scholarly/scientific knowledge of both theoretical bases and the current findings from scholarly/scientific research (“content knowledge”)
Publication on the skill model: Thiel, F. & Böttcher, F. (2014). “Modellierung fächerübergreifender Forschungskompetenzen - Das RMKR-W-Modell als Grundlage der Planung und Evaluation von Formaten forschungsorientierter Lehre.” In: B. Berendt, A. Fleischmann, J. Wildt, N. Schaper & B. Szczyrba (Ed.), Neues Handbuch Hochschullehre (I 2.10, pp. 109–124). Berlin: Raabe.