gms | German Medical Science

Learning through Inquiry in Higher Education: Current Research and Future Challenges (INHERE 2018)

08.03. - 09.03.2018, München

Looking underneath the umbrella. About the variance of meanings of ‚Learning by research’

Meeting Abstract

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Learning through Inquiry in Higher Education: Current Research and Future Challenges (INHERE 2018). München, 08.-09.03.2018. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2018. Doc13

doi: 10.3205/18inhere13, urn:nbn:de:0183-18inhere136

Published: March 1, 2018

© 2018 Huber.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. See license information at



Looking through (at least part of) the literature on ‚learning by research’ in both English and German one has got to assume that this or similar wordings like “research-based learning”, “undergraduate research” altogether form but an “umbrella” concept which hides quite different notions of the activities and processes involved.

This paper is to prove this assumption by examining, interpreting and comparing a selection of representative and influential publications in both languages with regard to the question, whether and to wich extent identical terms are used for different designs and practices of “Learning by research”/“Forschendes Lernen” and viceversa. Former attempts for clarification (as e.g. by [1], [2], [3] are to be noted, but are as will be shown not strictly applied.

Concluding from the results it will be argued that a more precise terminology in this field will be needed. In order to know exactly what we are talking about when we resume evaluations of ‚research-based learning’ (esp. in meta-analyses), recommend implementations or write curricula it is necessary to come to different namesor at least indicators for different activities which so far are subsumed under the same vague term as e.g. “research based learning” – and to apply them. Related suggestions will be explained and discussed.


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