Research Syntheses in Education Research

At DIPF, research syntheses on current issues in educational research and educational practice are developed across all departments. Different research projects are cooperating via the working group on research syntheses.


Research Syntheses at DIPF

At the DIPF | Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education, several departments are involved in compiling and conceptualising research syntheses. The syntheses are aimed at a systematic processing of research findings and research information and placing them in a larger context. Ideally, knowledge that is secured several times is combined, research gaps are identified as well as contradictory findings. Operations are organised according to predefined steps, i.e. formulation of a research question, search and selection of literature, coding and analysis of literature and processing of results. All these steps are guided by the principles of transparency, documentation and replicability.

Research Topics and Methodological Development

The scope of topics spans all areas of educational research and covers for example social inequalities in education, removal of barriers to education, language competencies or digitising in education (see projects). In parallel, the projects deal intensively with the methodology of research syntheses. Such methodological work is placed in accompanying research projects, current doctoral theses or within projects with third-party funding. This work focuses, for instance,

  • on questions of the transferability of the methods originating from medical science to education,
  • the use of databases and sources for comprehensive search of literature,
  • screening standards and the synthesis of study findings,
  • the use of AI-based tools for processing research syntheses and
  • types of knowledge transfer into educational practice.

Support in Compiling Research Syntheses by Infrastructures at DIPF

Research projects are closely tied to DIPF infrastructures. The German Education Portal allows searches for literature in national and international databases. The syntax of search queries is evident for a transparent documentation of syntheses. Moreover, it is possible to archive and reuse lists of literature via the research data centre for education at DIPF.
In addition, the German Education Server supports the transfer of findings from syntheses to diverse target groups, e.g. by publishing podcasts and interviews based on findings from research syntheses. In close collaboration with educational practice, we are currently also setting up a portal at DIPF where we will provide access to research syntheses on questions of support of students in the lower achievement spectrum. Furthermore, at the institute, research syntheses are also being processed in the context of BMBF meta-projects which are each focused on specific topical areas within the Framework Programme for Empirical Educational Research.

Networking in the Field

Exchange about research syntheses at DIPF is organised via a working group which meets regularly across departments to discuss projects and joint activities. Moreover, scientists at DIPF are involved in national and international networks exchanging ideas with different communities in the field. Collaboration takes place, for example, via national and international conferences and their corresponding networks, e.g. Network 12 of the EERA "Open Research in Education" or the Special Interest Group "Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis" of the AERA, as well as at subject-specific conferences and symposia in Germany and abroad. In 2021, the working group on research syntheses at DIPF hosted an expert exchange about research syntheses to network the German community in the field.



Dr. Annika Wilmers