1 - Range of research topics
part of the analysis aims to show the thematic 'landscape' of research
related to ENRR projects, by presenting the range of topics addressed by
these projects. The topics have been identified by a set of 25 descriptors
developed for mapping the contents of research resources in VET and HRD.
the figures below, these descriptors are presented by using abbreviated
terms (for a complete presentation see Descriptors
of VET and HRD research). Also, the descriptors are grouped by colour,
thereby structuring the range of topics according to thematic aspects which
are taken up in section 2 of this analysis.
2 provides an initial view of the range of topics addressed by ENRR projects.
For each project, all applicable descriptors have been selected from the
total set of 25. The result is a thematic 'landscape' composed of 502 descriptors
related to 221 projects.
of topics addressed by ENRR projects:
of thematic descriptors related to ENRR projects (n=221) as percentage
of total descriptors (n=502)
characteristics of the 'landscape' displayed in figure 2 may be noted.
One is that ENRR projects address the full range of topics covering HRD
and VET research, even if in varying proportion. The other is that the
topic 'economy' features as the most prominent, marking the highest proportion
(13%). This topic, however, is a fairly complex one, including 'economy,
business/ labour market/ social partners/ human capital', while some of
the other topics may be more specific. Therefore, the variations between
the topics in terms of percentages have to be interpreted with care.
insight in the topic 'landscape' of ENRR projects can be reached by comparing
this with data obtained from analysing EU projects (see figure 3).
of topics addressed by ENRR and EU projects:
of thematic descriptors related to ENRR projects (n=221) and to EU projects
(n=30) as percentage of total descriptors (n=502; n=143)
The ENRR projects are presented in the same colours as in figure 2.
the figure above, the proportions of the newly added topics of the EU projects
(black columns) appear to differ quite a lot from those of the ENRR projects
(coloured columns). Most clearly this can be realised from comparing the
most highly represented topics in both cases, as follows:
contrasts point to a major difference in priorities of research: While
the ENRR projects, representing national interests, seem to focus on economic
contexts, the EU projects tend to favour issues of competence development
'economy', as the peak among ENRR projects (see figure 2), by far exceeds
its counterpart among EU projects;
'competences' and 'learning' are the most highly represented among EU projects.
specific pattern of EU projects can be further considered by looking at
the other prominent topics (see black columns): economy, enterprise, VET
and worker. Considered as a group, they appear to present the broad context
in which the top issues of competence and learning are explored.
ENRR projects, by contrast (see coloured columns), have a large range of
medium priority topics, well below their prominent topic economy, including
continuing vocational education, learning, training and competence development.
These medium topics may be regarded as a range of themes investigated in
close relation to the dominant economic dimension of HRD/VET.
differences in thematic pattern between ENRR and EU projects, observed
by looking at the whole range of topics, will be taken up again in connection
with identifying major thematic aspects of research (section 2 of this
initial observations made about the thematic pattern of ENRR projects lead
to a further question: To what extent is the thematic pattern shaped by
projects carried out in the old as against the new countries? This is worth
finding out, not least because the latter are to a far greater extent represented
among the ENRR projects than among the EU projects.
order to identify specific features of old and new countries, the topic
analysis of ENRR projects is applied in the following way: The most important
topic of each project (rather than all topics addressed by one project)
has been selected. This approach allows for a more distinct comparison
between the thematic patterns of the two groups of projects (see figure
of topics addressed by ENRR projects of old and new EU countries:
of thematic descriptors related to ENRR projects of old and new countries
(descriptors/projects: old=n=141; new=n=80)
comparing the thematic pattern of projects in the old (blue) and the new
(red) EU countries, the following observations can be made:
the two patterns have a lot in common. This outcome matches the result
obtained by an earlier investigation of ERO Base projects carried out by
Petr Vicenik (see reference in table 2 - Introduction). This investigation
was based on the total stock of projects collected in the ERO Base, using
the original set of 12 ERO descriptors. The results of comparison showed
that the order of interest about individual themes was largely similar
for each group of EU countries.
to the special topics which have already been discussed in comparison with
the EU projects (see figure 3), two outcomes are worth noting:
the proportion of projects addressing the topic 'economy' is very high
in both old and new EU countries. This priority, therefore, is typical
of ENRR projects in general, in contrast to the EU projects. A possible
reason for this could be that economic issues are much more embedded in
the national context of R&D, which determines the ENRR projects, while
they may be too complicated or sensitive to be taken up in EU supported
the topics showing marked differences are, on the one hand, 'competence'
and 'learning' favoured by the old countries, and on the other hand, 'continuing
vocational education' favoured by the new countries. These topics were
also among those indicating contrasts between ENRR projects and EU projects
(see figure 3 above). This combined evidence suggests that the ENRR projects
of the old countries are fairly close to the EU projects in favouring 'competence'
and 'learning'. It may be assumed that the old countries promoted these
themes in the EU projects. The specific focus of the new countries on 'continuing
vocational education', which is hardly reflected in EU projects, may result
from their special needs of economic and societal reconstruction.