Vocational education and training (VET) research is still a relatively new term: it did not become established until the 1970s. It denotes a domain that is addressed by various scientific disciplines. Studies classified as VET research include, in particular, those that deal with vocational learning, VET institutions and systems, occupational and labour market development, the learning-conducive design of work processes, and competence development. Scientific studies in the field of VET research are therefore characterised by multi-disciplinarity. The disciplines that contribute to VET research include, in particular,

·         Educational sciences/vocational and business education

·         Business administration

·         Economics of education

·         Psychology/occupational psychology

·         Sociology/occupational sociology

·         Macroeconomics

Moreover, there are overlaps with other disciplines, for example, law, economics, ergonomics, and health science.

Institutionally, VET research in Germany can be located at various university departments (of vocational and business education), on the one hand, and at public or private non-university institutes at federal or Land level, on the other. In 1991[MG1] , a number of important institutions that conduct VET research teamed up to form the Vocational Education and Training Research Network Association (AG BFN).

Many recent developments have led to the enhancement of the prestige of VET and to its expansion or extension to other scientific areas. For example, due, among other things, to the reform of higher education as part of the "Bologna process" and to the growth in the number of dual[MG2]  study programmes (i.e., academic study programmes combined with vocational or practical training in a company or institution), VET increasingly extends into the area of higher education.

Open Access in VET research

Although comprehensive infrastructures for the promotion of Open Access (OA) have been created in numerous scientific disciplines, VET research still has considerable development needs in this regard. The Vocational Education and Training Literature Database (LDBB), which is published by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), gives the specialist scientific community access to an extensive text-based offering with around 60,000 literature references (see Prüstel & Rödel, 2016). The proportion of OA publications listed in the LDBB is growing steadily. These publications are bibliographically referenced, have undergone in-depth content indexing, and are directly linked to the full texts. However, these full texts are not permanently archived in the database.

Repositories in the domain of VET research

At present, there are no OA repositories specially for VET research. However, in the German specialised information landscape, there are a number of repositories for important reference disciplines of VET research:

·         EconStor (economics)

·         PEDOCS (educational sciences)

·         SSOAR (social sciences)


The content coverage of these four repositories in relation to VET research is, however, considered to be low (see Rödel, 2017).


  • Rödel, Bodo (2017). Open Access in der Berufsbildungsforschung. Bonn. URN: nbn:de:0035-0651-9v
  • Prüstel, Sabine & Rödel, Bodo (2016). 20 Jahre Literaturdokumentation zur beruflichen Bildung. BWP, 5/2016

Content editor of this webpage: Dr Bodo Rödel, Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB)

Letze Änderungen vor dem 16. April 2019 vom IPOA-Redaktionsteam.