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Worldwide interest in NEPS data at seven international conferences

Over the past five weeks, the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi) appeared at seven internationally relevant scientific conferences with an exhibition booth in order to attract new data users for the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS). In this way, more than 20,000 potential users were reached. The presentations in Cyprus (EARLI in Limassol) and the USA (ASA in Chicago) were already reported here. This news focuses on LIfBi presentations in continental Europe for the period between August 20 and September 23, 2015.

The first leg of this European conference tour brought the LIfBi to the SELF Conference entitled “Driving Positive Psychology and Well-Being” in Kiel, Germany, from August 20 to 24. The abbreviation “SELF” stands for “Self-Concept Enhancement and Learning Facilitation” and refers to a worldwide research network of about 7,000 scientists from 45 countries. At this conference, the LIfBi had the opportunity to introduce the analysis potential of the NEPS data even to the scientific community in Sri Lanka, for example.

The next stop of the LIfBi exhibition booth was Prague. Here, from August 25 to 29, the 12th conference of the European Sociological Association (ESA) took place under the heading “Differences, Inequalities, and Sociological Imagination”. Within this triad, the NEPS data offer ample room for analyses and, in their multidimensionality, they make possible, for example, the prototypical examination of reproduction mechanisms of social inequalities in modern societies in the light of vertical (i.e., scarce, desired, and powerful) and horizontal (simply “being different”) characteristics. This potential convinced over 100 participants of this conference to examine in more detail the semantic data structure file—that is, NEPS data without specific numbers within the matrices. The opening date of this conference can be considered as a special date for the LIfBi: For the first time ever, the LIfBi appeared on three continents at the same time, because Cyprus geographically belongs to Asia.

The next stop after Prague was Klagenfurt at the Wörthersee, where the Congress of the Austrian Association of Research and Development in Education (Österreichische Gesellschaft für Forschung und Entwicklung im Bildungswesen, ÖFEB) was held from August 30 to September 1. There, young scientists from the neighboring country were once again enthused by the various analysis opportunities of the NEPS data.

The “European Conference on Educational Research“ (ECER), which is hosted by the European Educational Research Association (EERA) every two years, took place in Budapest (Hungary) from September 7 to 11. This year’s topic was “Education and Transition—Contributions from Educational Research”. Here, education and transition refer, in two respects, to both individual and societal transitions between (developmental) conditions. The NEPS data offer analysis potential in these areas as well, due to the fact that focusing on transitions within the educational system is one of the main perspectives of the NEPS. Accordingly, fruitful discussions were held at the NEPS exhibition booth. Dr. Jutta von Maurice, LIfBi’s Executive Director of Research, gave an insight into the background and the preparation of the data in the NEPS Scientific Use Files as part of a symposium at the meeting of the World Education Research Association (WERA), which also took place at this conference. Interested participants had the opportunity to get more information on NEPS at the LIfBi exhibition booth subsequent to the symposium.

The last leg of the LIfBi exhibition booth tour through Europe led us to Göttingen, where the Arbeitsgruppe für Empirische Pädagogische Forschung (AEPF, Working Group for Empirical Pedagogical Research) celebrated its 50th anniversary under the motto “Perspectives of Educational Sciences in Empirical Educational Research” from September 21 to 23. At this meeting, the question about new releases of NEPS data was central, especially for qualification purposes of junior scientific staff. The recently published release plan of the Research Data Center LIfBi ensures the predictability of new releases, which was welcomed all round.