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Fakulta sociálních studií
Ostravská univerzita
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709 00 Ostrava - Mar. Hory
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Project VEDTYM: Enlargement and Development of the Research Team at the Faculty of Social Studies, University of Ostrava

Introduction

Basic information about the project

  • ESF project: Operational Programme Education for Competitiveness

Project name

  • Project „VEDTYM“: Enlargement and Development of the Research Team at the Faculty of Social Studies, University of Ostrava

Registration number

  • CZ.1.07/2.3.00/20.0080

Project beneficiary

  • University of Ostrava

Funding

  • 19,336,617.26 CZK

Project dates

  • Project implementation start date: 1. 6. 2011
  • Project completion date: 31. 5. 2014

Funding provider:

  • Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports

This project is co-financed by the European Social Fund through the Operational Programme Education for Competitiveness and the state budget of the Czech Republic.

Summary

The project is focused on enlarging and developing the current research team functioning at the Faculty of Social Studies, University of Ostrava and addressing issues connected with the social impacts of modernization processes, new social risks, and social exclusion. The project involves a renowned expert from abroad (a specialist in social science and social work research methodology) who will supervise key project activities. The research team will be enlarged by recruiting new members (Ph.D. students and other young researchers), who will receive specialist training enabling them to participate in international networks via the European Research Institute for Social Work.

Target groups

The project target group consists of university students in Master's (Mgr.) and Ph.D. degree programmes as well as current academic staff at the Faculty of Social Studies, University of Ostrava.

1) Target group: academic staff
The target group of academic staff members consults the international expert on topical issues related to social change, enabling the staff to acquire deeper and broader-based expert competencies, which will be disseminated both among their colleagues (other academic staff members) and among students of Master's and Ph.D. programmes. The Faculty will devise and implement teaching and training programmes developing specific knowledge and skills related to the theory and practice of research.

The knowledge and skills gained by the academic staff through the project will help create a comprehensive system of teaching including new research methods in social sciences. A textbook (monograph) on research methodology will be integrated into courses at the Faculty.

2) Target group: university students
The students will broaden their knowledge and skills in selected research topics not yet forming a part of degree programmes by participating in training and teaching which focuses on research methodology specifically designed for social work; they will also develop expert competencies through the active use of specialist texts in this field.

The students will be kept informed of the results of ongoing research, and will have the opportunity to participate in certain research tasks and become integrated into international networks. Information on research and networking will also be presented on the project website. Besides participating in ongoing research, the students will also be able to attend regularly held researchers' afternoons, group and individual consultations, international Spring Schools and seminars for Master's students. The objective of the project is to support students' interest in research activities and publishing.

Main project objectives

The project will enable the enlargement and development of the current research team functioning at the Faculty of Social Studies, University of Ostrava. Its objective is to support students' interest in research activities and provide young researchers with access to high-quality, comprehensive training focused on research. The project will enable the development of specialist competencies and key skills for researchers and the subsequent application of new training methods in social sciences research; it will support the development of research skills in order to optimize researchers' approach to key research issues in the Czech Republic and support their involvement in international research projects.

Other key project objectives are:

  • Development of competencies and key skills in researchers.
  • Broadening of opportunities for further training of researchers.
  • Application of new training methods in social sciences research.
  • Provision of specialist training for young researchers.
  • Improvement of conditions for research.

Key activities and project outcomes

Key activity 01:

Support and strengthening of the Faculty research team by means of the involvement of an international expert

The objective of the activity is to engage a renowned international expert (Prof. Detlef Baum) in the current research team for the entire period of the project implementation; he will lead this team in a range of specific research activities.

The activity will be carried out for the entire duration of the project, i.e. from 1 June 1 2011 until 31 May 2014.

Outcomes of key activity no. 1:

Key activity 02:

Enlargement of the Faculty research team by recruiting young researchers and Ph.D. students, strengthening of the research team

The new members of the research team will be trained in the methodology of social sciences research through their participation in the research activities and the implementation of specific research tasks at all stages of research. The activity will be further developed through a series of regularly held researchers' afternoons at which the research team members will present ongoing results followed by discussion about specific methodological issues. The members of the research team will participate in publications or will publish independently and present ongoing research results at the international Spring School.

The activity will be carried out for the entire duration of the project, i.e. from 1 June 2011 until 31 May 2014.

Outcomes of key activity no. 2:

Key activity 03:

Development of literacy in the field of GIS technologies applied in social sciences

The objective of this key activity is to introduce the research team and Ph.D. students to the latest methods using geographic information systems to gain an understanding of socio-economic spatial processes. The participants will learn about all aspects of spatial data processing. They will also learn how to offer spatial prognoses of socio-demographic and economic processes. Special emphasis will be placed on the interpretation of knowledge. Under expert supervision, the members of the research team will acquire knowledge that they will be able to apply during their work on specific research tasks. A course for Ph.D. students will take place once in the academic year during the project implementation period.

This activity will be subcontracted and will be carried out between 1 September 2011 and 31 December 2012.

Outcomes of key activity no. 3:

Key activity 04:

Methodological block of the international Spring School

The objective of this activity is the development of methodological knowledge among Ph.D. students and support for the creation of international links enabling the development of research-based cooperation. The Faculty's Spring School is a traditional programme where research studies conducted as part of Ph.D. students' dissertations, as well as research projects by Faculty staff, are presented, discussed and consulted with international experts and students. A methodological block targeted at students and staff will be created, including lectures and workshops on research methodology in social work.

The activity will be carried out in April 2012, April 2013 and April 2014.

Outcomes of key activity no. 4:

Project team*

Project supervisor

International expert

Research projects manager

Project economist

Other team members

* Personnel changes in the project team are detailed in the monitoring reports for each monitoring period

Project meetings*

Project meetings will be held throughout the year involving senior and junior project team members, Ph.D. students and supervisors under the guidance of the international expert (Professor Baum).

The topic of social exclusion has become the main research area for the whole project team. The publication by Prof. J. Keller (Exclusion as a Social Problem and a Methodological Question) offers a theoretical exposition of the problem of social exclusion. The author refers to the methodological “pro et contra” of various types of social constructivism embracing a partial - but at the same time extreme - manifestation of social exclusion, which is the phenomenon of homelessness. The other three sub-analyses of project sub-teams elaborate partial forms of social exclusion: socio-spatial segregation (based on a comparison of two cities in the Czech Republic and Germany) and social exclusion of selected population groups - specifically (1) families threatened by poverty or poor families and (2) seniors threatened by poverty with an emphasis on the aspect of housing. Each sub-analysis presents research procedures of the sub-team along with research outcomes and conclusions.

Subteam Old age and poverty

Summary

One of the subteams in the VEDTYM research project is focused on the lives of seniors today. The aim of the research is to answer the question of how seniors at risk of poverty and poor seniors manage their life situation. The subteam applies qualitative research strategies with a focus on understanding the living situation of the elderly. The research analyzes the life experience of both senior citizens and social workers working with the poor and the elderly at risk of poverty. The process involves members of all three subteams and thus fulfills the requirement of triangulation.

The research method applied involves narrative biographical interviews with seniors. Seniors recommended by social workers were contacted and meetings were arranged. After obtaining written permission from the interview subject, the interview was recorded on a dictaphone. The team member G. Nytra carried out 22 narrative biographical interviews. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and accompanied by interview records and respondents' cards with basic demographic data. Currently the interviews are being coded and analyzed by the team members.

As part of the triangulation process, we then returned to the field and met with the social workers who had recommended the seniors. We conducted semi-structured interviews with the social workers with the aim of discovering how social workers perceive their elderly clients and how they interpret seniors living in poverty or people at risk of poverty; we also asked for their opinion on the limits of social work and its changing landscape.

Researchers are currently compiling information on the interview respondents. The interviews have been transcribed and will subsequently be processed.

Members of the team

Subteam Families at risk of poverty

Summary

The Family subteam focuses on the topic of poor families and families threatened with poverty, as well as the role of social work in helping those families to manage their life situations.

Besides theories of poverty and social exclusion, we base our research on international findings regarding strategies used by the poor and those at risk of poverty, especially on work by the French author Paugam (1991), as well as on Ellwood in Sirovátka (2000), Giddens (2004), Duvoux (2009), Keller (2012), van der Land, Doff (2010), Wadsworth (2011), Budowski, Tillmamm, Keim, Amacker (2010).

In our research we aim to determine whether social disqualification phases and related strategies for coping with poverty and poverty threat (including relation to social work) as described by foreign authors also occur in the Czech population, and which specifically Czech features exist. Our main findings will concern families' perception of the role of social work and their expectations from that role.

The research uses quantitative methodologies.

Members of the team

Subteam Social Segregation - Comparing Two European Cities

Summary

The subteam focuses on the comparison of similarly structured cities - one in the Czech Republic (Ostrava) and one in Germany (Halle).

Both cities had a history of socialistic housing policy, labour policy and social support policy, and both cities currently suffer the effects of de-industrialization, shrinkage tendencies, and the weakness of integration potentials in the long-term process of transformation.

Regarding the housing policy there has been a radical change during the transformation period, because currently the conditions of the housing market are creating a structural situation in which the only available reasonably priced housing is located in unattractive residential areas lacking adequate infrastructure and offering disadvantaged conditions for the lives and upbringing of children and young people.

Research questions:

  • Whether and to what extent we find such forms of spatial segregation, and in which specific form we find a relationship between spatial segregation and the social exclusion of a population which is in any case threatened by loss of socioeconomic status and is at risk of poverty
  • Whether the address of a disadvantaged residential area is the central condition for social exclusion, or whether the address is merely a symbolic expression of the socio-economically excluded situation
  • Which strategies of social integration each of these two cities pursues, and which social policy would be necessary for effective social integration

For this study we use both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Members of the team

Publication output

* Personnel changes in the project team are detailed in the monitoring reports for each monitoring period

Contacts

Message Owner: Mgr. Monika Hurtíková, DiS. | Updated: 10. 11. 2014
 

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