The Research Data Centre for Education (FDZ Bildung) constitutes an important element of a national data infrastructure in the area of empirical educational research. Its tasks encompass archiving and making available research data for reusage by the community of researchers, focusing on documenting qualitative research data and quantitative assessment instruments. By means of detailed documentation, the services target an advanced transparency and traceability of research processes and outcomes as well as secondary usage of research data.

Research Data Centre Education (FDZ Bildung)

The FDZ Bildung is a partner in the German Network for Educational Research Data (GNERD). It is a central access point for educational researchers regarding archiving and availability of qualitative research data and quantitative assessment instruments. FDZ Bildung draws on transparent access procedures to make data sets and assessment instruments accessible for secondary usage, pursuant to data protection regulations. Contextual information on the original study where data were first used add to the service, as well as instruments and related publications. The Research Data Centre for Education places a priority on instruments and data from school and instructional research. The Collection Policy moreover states the objective of adequately covering the entire scope of empirical educational research.

Principally, the services at FDZ Bildung are openly accessible and free of charge – access to sensitive contents (e.g. test tasks or lesson recordings) is protected and subject to an application procedure. Applicants wishing to reuse the data and instruments consent to observing the principles of good scientific practice, naming the copyright holder (in analogy to bibliographic citation).

Research Data

FDZ Bildung mainly provides access to audiovisual data (e.g. video recordings of observed lessons) and text-type research data (e.g. transcripts of observed lessons or of interviews). The time span of available data largely comprehends assessments from the past two decades, but a historically relevant collection of audiovisual datasets is also available from recorded lessons in the GDR and the Federal Republic of Germany. These data from the 1970s to 1990s originate from distributed, disparate sources.

The data are supplemented by context and documentation materials (e.g. interview guidelines, videography manuals), to enable an interpretation and reusage of the research data.

The datasets are singular and in some cases their production afforded a high measure of effort; the data are interesting for further qualitative research but also for quantitative research approaches.

Assessment instruments

FDZ Bildung holds an index of instruments to document quantitative assessment instruments from empirical educational research. Scales and items are provided originating from questionnaire-based assessments, relevant original questionnaires and tests assessing achievement and competencies. An exchange of researchers on instruments and a dissemination of used instruments and their further development are envisaged. Therefore, scale composition and item texts can be inspected which have been indexed with commonly used score criteria. Research processes are thus supported in the areas of theory- building, assessment planning, operationalizing and documentation. Detailed search functionalities assist users in accessing the instruments, as well as a theory-guided browsing structure based on a scheme from school and instructional quality research.

Besides historical questionnaires from the 1970s, indexing of questionnaires and instruments at FDZ Bildung focuses on the large expansion phase in empirical educational research in the last two decades.

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