The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Students’ Characteristics and Motives for Enrolment in a Community-Based Research Service Learning Project: A Qualitative Investigation

Janine Bittner, Ruhr University Bochum, Institute of Geography (Germany)

Janina Kempchen, Westphalia-Lippe Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (Germany)


The first purpose of this qualitative research study was to explore the reasons why geography students decided to enroll in a community-based service-learning course. The course design, which combined different elements of service learning as well as research-based teaching and learning, was newly developed and, for the first time, implemented at the Institute of Geography at the Ruhr University Bochum. The course tackled the issue of social inequality, poverty and homelessness in the old industrialized Ruhr region. The development and implementation of the course design were supported by a teaching grant from the university. The bachelor students could choose between different study project courses that differed in terms of the topic, the lecturer, and the teaching concept. Our investigation’s second goal was to get more in-depth information about students’ personality, fundamental personality traits, values and skills. With our work, we aimed to expand on the results of previous studies that focus on students’ motives for participation and participant characteristics. We designed a qualitative interview study and conducted online interviews with the course participants at the end of the course. MAXQDA, a computer-aided text analysis software was used to code and analyze the transcribed interview data by qualitative content analysis, using inductive and deductive approaches.

Keywords: motives for enrollment, personality traits, values, experiential learning, community-based research, service-learning


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[2] Christensen, Robert K.; Stritch, Justin M.; Kellough, J. Edward; Brewer, Gene A. (2015): Identifying Student Traits and Motives to Service-Learn: Public Service Orientation among New College Freshmen. In: Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement 19 (4), S. 39–62. Online verfügbar unter

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[4] Mayring, P. (2022). Qualitative content analysis: A step-by-step guide. SAGE Publications Ltd.



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