gms | German Medical Science

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

08.03. - 09.03.2018, München

How do concepts of research affect inquiry-based learning?

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. Doc20

doi: 10.3205/18inhere20, urn:nbn:de:0183-18inhere205

Published: March 1, 2018

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



Research differs depending on discipline, as does the implementation of undergraduate research. Thus, the type of research conducted within a field will most likely also impact inquiry-based learning. In our experience, undergraduate research is less common in fields such as architecture or business administration, but common yet quite different in social work vs. biology. The question is: Are these differences related to categorical differences in understanding and conducting research?

We attempt to identify a typology of research that is more or less independent of the classification of disciplines. Starting with a paper by the German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat, 2012), we identified eight types of research: (1) empirical data collection; (2) experimentation; (3) hermeneutical interpretation; (4) concept- and theory-building; (5) developing professional standards; (6) simulation; (7) engineering prototypes; and (8) design.

The types of research can be based on different forms of cognition — for instance, conceiving of concept- and theory-building as research. The typology is based on some presuppositions or conceptual decisions: (i) to include the development of professional standards as a type of research; (ii) to differentiate research in engineering from design, the latter being guided by esthetic principles.

We reviewed several standard interdisciplinary works on inquiry-based learning [1], [2], [3] in order to assess the kinds of inquiry-based teaching induced by different types of research. We found, for instance, that empirical data collection and simulation provide easily accessible methodologies for students wishing to conduct undergraduate-level research, particularly in disciplines where undergraduate research is less common (e.g., theology).

The presented work forms part of the trace research project ForschenLernen (


Bundesassistentenkonferenz BAK.Forschendes Lernen - Wissenschaftliches Prüfen, Bd. 5. Bielefeld: UniversitätsVerlagWebler; 2009.
Mieg HA, Lehmann J. Forschendes Lernen: Wie die Lehre in Universität und Fachhochschule erneuert werden kann. Frankfurt/Main: Campus; 2017.
Lehmann J, Mieg HA. Forschendes Lernen: Ein Praxisbuch. Potsdam: Verlag der FH Potsdam; 2017.