Center for Participation Research

The researchers at the Center for Participation Research investigate barriers and opportunities for inclusion and particiaption of persons with disabilities as well as elderly persons and their family caregivers. Based at all of the KatHO NRW campuses in Aachen, Cologne, Münster and Paderborn the center brings together different academic disciplines: special education, social work, sociology, law, psychology and theology. In cooperation with partners from science and practice the researchers analyse life circumstances of seniors and persons with disabilities. Through applied research, counselling, and training, the Center for Participation Research seeks to improve the level of social participation within these groups. Closely tied to the center are the university’s research-based master’s programmes, as for example the programme "Networks in Special Education: Research, Management, Consultation".

The center is organized into the following research fields.

Social Participation of the generations

The society must adapt to the growing numbers of seniors and the shrinking numbers of young people in a great variety of ways. This field of focus considers the social and psychological conditions for social participation of seniors. The researchers examine individual social surroundings to see which increase, and which decrease, the chances of having a content and independent old age. As health can change quickly in old age - multiple diseases, chronic illnesses, limited mobility, dementia - support systems must be custom tailored to individual needs.

Social Participation of Persons with Disabilities

In accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Germany must give the disabled equal access to all areas of social life.  But what kinds of barriers prevail in which specific contexts and areas of life? And which strategies apply can be applied to abolish these? What kind of modells of support can enable persons with disabilities to a self-determined life in the community? On the basis of the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), the center’s projects are researching different areas of participation – for example community life, domestic life and Interpersonal Interactions and Relationships. The group of elderly persons with disabilities is given special consideration (due to the demographic change and the fact that they have remained "invisible" for a long time).

The Center for Participation Research pursues its agenda by

  • conducting research projects in collaboration with stakeholders in the fields of science, politics, professional practice and (self-) advocacy groups,
  • promoting the qualification of young academics within the field of participation research – particularly orthopedagogues and social pedagogues,
  • organizing and participating in conferences, research colloquia and research-practice transfer,
  • consulting local authorities, service providers, funding organizations and advocacy groups,
  • collaborating with research centers at other universities and with academic/scientific associations.

More information about the members (e.g. research projects, research interests) here.

Katholische Hochschule Nordrhein-Westfalen 2021