Center for Social and Humanitarian Research
socle floor, 6 Svobody Sq, 61022, Kharkiv
On February 4, 2016, by order of the University President, the Social and Humanitarian Research Institute, which was established by the decision of the University Academic Board on April 29, 2008, was reorganized into the Center for Social and Humanitarian Research.
The activities of the Center focus on socio-humanitarian research (sociological, marketing, electoral, socio-economic, etc.), as well as research aimed at addressing topical issues of the University. The Center involves students in research activity during their internships.
Structural subdivisions of the Center:
- Department of Applied Sociology;
- Department of Applied Psychology;
- Department of Education Issues.
The activities of the Center are carried out in different directions. The Center co-executes the following research projects:
1. The University monitoring “Teaching Through Students’ Eyes”, which since February, 2003 has become the main form of control of the quality of teaching at the University. The monitoring is being carried out within the framework of the University Development Program 2010–2020. Until now, 20 large-scale surveys among students have been conducted. The survey takes place twice a year — at the beginning of each new semester and involves 1st-4th year students from all the Schools. Students are to evaluate the activity of the instructors who taught courses in the previous semester and administered tests and exams. The substantial blocks of the questionnaire contain questions as to both the instructor’s activity and the academic process organization. At almost every stage of monitoring, together with evaluating the actual quality of teaching, students’ attitude to urgent problems of the University life is studied. Thus, the staff of the Center already has experience in studying communication features of the academic process, the state of computer training at the University, students’ readiness for teaching activities, sustainability of professional choices and employment prospects of future graduates, students’ attitude to innovations of the Bologna Process and various forms of summative assessment, etc. The results of each stage of the research are reported by the monitoring supervisor (Associate Professor A. M. Nikolaievska) twice a year at the meetings of the University administration. The survey data are regularly discussed by Methodological Commissions of the Schools and analyzed by the staff of the Educational and Methodological Center of the University in order to develop further recommendations to improve the quality of teaching. The data concerning the evaluation of particular instructors’ activity are out of public access, they are analyzed only by instructors themselves and the Dean of the corresponding School. If necessary, these data can be used by the University President and the Vice-President for Academic Affairs, or heads of departments.
2. Survey of the 1st, 3rd, and 5th year students. Since the autumn of 2011, the staff of the Center together with the School of Sociology has implemented a University-wide study of the 1st, 3rd, and 5th year students’ opinions on various aspects of the University life. In particular, the study has examined: the students’ value orientations and tolerance level; common leisure practices; foreign language skills; involvement in traveling to foreign countries; Internet and social networks usage; satisfaction with studying at the University; preparation for classes and difficulties during studies; evaluation of conditions for studying at the University; student self-government and its powers according to the students' opinion; students’ place of residence in Kharkiv; evaluation of accommodation conditions in the University dormitories; students’ health and bad habits; students' life and professional plans for the future, etc.
3. Survey “The University Website According to Students' Opinions: Advantages, Disadvantages and Ways of Optimization”. In the spring of 2013, the team of the Social and Humanitarian Research Institute implemented the study of the 1st-4th year students' opinions regarding the website of Kharkiv University, as well as the University Schools’ websites. The purpose of the study was to find out how often students visit the University and the Schools’ websites, the level of their satisfaction with these websites, their structure, content, and the drawbacks they see in the work of these websites.
4. Study of foreign students of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University. In 2009–2010, the team of the Social and Humanitarian Research Institute implemented sociological research “Foreign Students of the University”. Within the project, foreign students’ living conditions in Kharkiv and Ukraine were studied. The sample amounted to 944 persons, the method of data collection was questioning. The study examined: motivation to study at the University; sources of information about V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University; place of residence of the foreign students (dormitory, private residential area, rental housing); evaluation of living conditions in dormitories; attitude towards living together with students of other nationalities; reasons for refusal to stay at the dormitory of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University; evaluation of conditions for studying at the University; evaluation of the University lecturers; problems of using the Ukrainian and Russian languages during studies; ways to improve the conditions for studying at the University; appeal to international student departments of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University; plans for the future; material conditions of life in Ukraine; challenges faced by foreign students in Ukraine; communication between foreign students and other social groups; negative attitude towards foreign students; personal and property security threats; foreign students' leisure; moods of foreign students.
5. Higher School in Ukraine: Monitoring of Legal Mechanisms of Functioning (2012-2013). The project is being implemented in cooperation with the East-Ukrainian Foundation for Social Research, the School of Law of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University and with support of the International Renaissance Foundation. The project envisages a comprehensive sociological survey, which will help identify typical violations of rights of the academic process participants, their level of awareness of their rights and responsibilities, as well as their level of readiness to defend their rights. The reference groups of the study are Ukrainian students, university faculty, experts (representatives of education authorities, university administrations, human rights organizations, lawyers, educators). Within the project, a database of typical violations of rights of the academic process participants will be created with a free access to it. The main result of the project will be publication of a scientific and practical handbook describing the most common cases of rights violations and indicating specific practical actions to protect the rights of the academic process participants and to resolve legal conflicts.
6. Teaching History at School: on the Way to Tolerance (2010-2011). The project was implemented together with the East-Ukrainian Foundation for Social Research and the School of History of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation. Within the project, a national study of content of history education in Ukraine was conducted. The purpose of the study was to collect information about the process of teaching Ukrainian and world history at schools and what is taught in terms of cultural, ethnic, and gender tolerance, the ability to have a constructive dialogue, analyze historical events.
The teams of the Center and the East-Ukrainian Foundation for Social Research took part in the implementation of the following projects:
International research project TEMPUS “Promoting Student Self-Government: from the Post-Soviet to the European Model” (EU grant, study of the present state of student self-government in Ukraine, organization of the Summer School for student self-government leaders with the participation of European experts, publication of a 2-volume collection according to the project results, 2007–2008);
International research project ENRI-EAST “Interplay of European, National and Regional Identities: Nations Between States Along the New Eastern Borders of the European Union” (EU grant within FP7, quantitative and qualitative study of some national minorities living in Ukraine, 2008–2011);
International research project HITT-2008 “Health in Times of Transition: Trends in Population Health and Health Policies in CIS Countries” (EU grant within FP7, quantitative and qualitative study of public health and public policy in this area, 2008–2012).
From October 2015 to February 2016, the staff of the Center for Social and Humanitarian Research of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University conducted the sociological survey "Senior Students of V. N. Karazin University About Their Studies and Future Employment”. The survey involved 3rd-6th year students of the University. The survey determined the stability of the University senior students’ professional choice, the peculiarities of their study at V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, professional orientations of 3rd-6th year students of V. N. Karazin KhNU, namely: employment, additional work during study, employment plans, factors of choosing a place of work, awareness and frequency of contacting the Employment Center for students and alumni of the University, as well as students’ opinion on what needs to be changed in the content and organization of training to increase the competitiveness of the University graduates in the labor market.
The Center closely cooperates with the School of Sociology of the University, in particular 4th-year students undergo their on-the-job training here. In October 2011, together with faculty members of the School of Psychology, School of Sociology, School of Law, the Institute organized and conducted a seminar for senior students “Employment Through the Eyes of Practitioners”.