2 - Structure of the research field
this section the thematic pattern of the ENRR projects is analysed according
to major 'areas' of research. These areas have been defined as part of
mapping the broad field of VET and HRD (see Areas
of European research in VET and HRD). Starting out from this initial
map, the following areas have been identified for analysing the ENRR projects
of research (for analysing ENRR projects)
- Higher education - Adult education - Lifelong learning (each incl. vocational
continuing vocational education
resource development in organisations (incl. knowledge management; learning
organisation; learning region/city)
resource development at labour market level (incl. occupation and skills
development; qualification of the workforce)
related learning - Worklife learning - ICT and learning (each without specific
areas above have been defined by using English terminology which is common
at European or international level. However, two problems in applying this
'transnational' terminology should not be overlooked.
more subtle aspects of how the R&D field is perceived in the national
context cannot be taken up in this project analysis.
is the - sometimes hardly identifiable - relation to national terms. The
corresponding term for research on HRD-LM in Germany, for instance, is
'Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung'; while 'HRD' is only rarely used in
problem is the specific dominance of individual terms caused by the cultural
traditions existing in individual countries. While some Western countries,
for example, use VET as an overall term covering most of the other areas
as well, some Eastern countries tend to use HRD as an all-embracing term.
this analysis, for each ENRR project only one area - the most appropriate
- has been selected, without taking account of any overlaps with other
areas. The outcome of this approach is a thematic pattern with clear focal
points. These however need to be seen as part of an overall research field
that consists of closely interlinked areas.
following figure provides an overview of how the research areas are distributed
among the ENRR projects.
areas related to ENRR projects
of ENRR projects (n=221) according to areas of research (see table 3) in
following initial outcomes may be noted:
evidence on the distribution of research areas across EU countries can
be drawn from the preceding analysis of ENRR institutions. In the figure
below, the three central areas (VET, HRD-O and HRD-LM) are presented in
comparison between ENRR projects and ENRR institutions.
the most important research area. While this outcome may have been predictable,
the second major area is worth noting: HRD-LM. If both the HRD related
areas are taken together (HRD-O and HRD-LM), the resulting proportion is
even higher than the one for VET.
large research area is 'education', obviously due to the fact that, in
many countries, a considerable proportion of vocational education is part
of the full-time education provision. Also, lifelong learning (part of
'education') is a common context of addressing issues of vocational education.
of WRL is represented by a small proportion of projects; issues of WRL
are of course also included in the other research areas, particularly VET
areas related to ENRR projects and institutions
of three selected research areas among ENRR projects (n=221) and ENRR institutions
(n=250) in percent
additional evidence from the analysis of institutions confirms the major
proportions between the research areas which have been established for
the projects. In the order of frequency, VET is followed by HRD-LM and
then HRD-O; in the overall balance, VET is matched by HRD (combining HRD-LM
outcome is of course still tentative, in that further studies based on
evidence outside the ENRR context may yield different results. Nevertheless,
this is the first empirically based presentation of how the HRD/VET research
field is structured according to major areas.
complement this overview, the distribution of research areas is analysed
by comparing ENRR projects from the old and the new EU countries (figure
areas related to ENRR projects in old and new countries
of the research areas in ENRR projects of the old countries (n=141) and
the new countries (n=80) in percent
the major distribution between the research areas, including the top position
of VET, is similar in both groups of countries. There are however certain
differences, which point to specific patterns for each group:
the old countries have high proportions in both VET and HRD-LM, the new
countries are particularly concentrated on VET, followed by medium-level
proportions of both 'education' and HRD-LM.
comparative outcome may just be noted, without any attempt of drawing immediate
conclusions. A thorough contextual analysis would be required in order
to gain further insight. The same reservation applies to the overview below
(table 4), which tries to present a 'group picture' of how the research
areas are highlighted by various countries. Starting out from the distribution
of projects between the research area (see also figure 9), the overview
lists those countries which, for the areas concerned, reach a proportion
above the average (within the country concerned).
areas of ENRR projects - Overview of selected countries
of the research areas related to ENRR projects (n=221) in percent; selection
of countries with proportions above average in individual areas
countries (above average)
ES, NL, SE
FR, IE, PT, UK
countries (above average)
overview, above all, illustrates the broad spectrum of research found in
both old and new countries. However, the national examples selected for
each research area are only tentative, in view of the limited data base
(average of ten projects per country). Further evidence may easily modify
this initial 'group picture'!