Vienna, Austria

Opening the Black Box of Quality

when 5 September 2016 - 9 September 2016
language English
duration 1 week
credits 4 EC
fee EUR 100

Reflecting on and assessing the quality of scientific work is part and parcel of scholarly practice – whether in various work situations or the different stages of an academic career. As scholars, we judge the quality of a book that has recently been published; as teachers, we give advice to students on how to improve the quality of their projects and term papers; as doctoral students, we assess the quality of related work to position ourselves in a particular field of expertise; and, not least importantly, we constantly reflect on our own work in terms of implicit and often informal standards of quality that govern our working practices and the formation of our academic selves.

Course leader

Univ.Prof. Dr. Martina Merz

Target group

PHD students (doctoral students) and junior postdocs

Course aim

At the Summer School, doctoral students and early postdocs from different fields of the social sciences and humanities will explore practices of attributing, contesting, and negotiating quality in scholarly work. The participants will be invited to critically reflect upon such practices, and how these relate to quantitative measures of academic performance. In lectures and through engagement with literature (provided in advance), they will be introduced to the relevant concepts and approaches and to different formal procedures of assessing the quality of scientific work. Drawing on their own research, the participants will jointly think through quality standards, and how they vary across disciplinary cultures. Their attention will be directed to instances in which quality is attributed, contested, and negotiated in their own writing and reading practices. In critically reflecting on these practices, they will collectively tackle the question of what constitutes a ‘good’ PhD thesis. Thus, the aim of this Summer School is, broadly speaking, to open up the black box of quality in SSH scholarship.

Fee info

EUR 100: with accommodation
EUR 50: without accommodation


AAUniversity of Klagenfurt/Wien/Graz, Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies, Departement of Science Communication and Higher Education Research