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Research projects of the Costa Rica Center

International comparative study on content and organization of secondary teacher education at universities

This project is being conducted by the Center for Teacher Education as well as the Costa Rica Center of Osnabrück University on the one hand, and the “Instituto de Investigación en Educación” (INIE) at the University of Costa Rica (Universidad de Costa Rica) on the other. It aims at the international comparison of concepts and curricula of secondary teacher training at universities. Besides Costa Rica and Germany, other countries like Finland, Cuba and Korea take part in the project.

People involved: Prof. Dr. Lupita Chavez, Prof. Dr. Jacqueline García, Prof. Dr. Ingrid Kunze, Dr. phil. Susanne Müller-Using, Dr. phil. Yoshiro Nakamura

Partners involved: Universidad de Costa Rica: Instituto de Investigación en Educación (INIE) Osnabrück University: Costa Rica Center, Institute of Education (Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft), Center for Teacher Education (Zentrum für Lehrerbildung)

Project phase: report

From pedagogical knowledge to empathic action. An international comparison of university teacher education concepts

This project aims at presenting a theoretical analysis and general ideas on the subject of empathy as a pedagogical value in (school) education processes, by which the individual profiles and needs of children can move closer to the center of professional pedagogical attention and awareness. An empirical comparison of basic teacher education at Osnabrück University and the University of Costa Rica (UCR) as well as the National University of Costa Rica (UNA) shall provide answers as to whether and how the so-called soft skills like empathy can be conveyed at universities and be discussed within the context of teacher education. The analysis will look at whether and how future teachers are therefore made aware of the necessity of conveying the corresponding knowledge in the schools. The results can help adopt valuable know-how for the reform of teacher education in the German context and preserve the already existing knowledge.

People involved: Dr. phil. Susanne Müller-Using, Prof. Dr. Ileana Vargas, Prof. Dr. Lupita Chavez

Partners involved: Universidad de Costa Rica: Instituto de Investigación en Educación (INIE), Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica: Centro de Investigación y Docencia en Educación (CIDE), Osnabrück University: Costa Rica Center

Projekt phase: report

Costa Rican and Central American rents per capita in a historical comparison

This project is developed in collaboration with the Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencias Económicas. The goal is to analize a set of data over the rents per capita in Central America. There are two main issues: (i) in the long term, do the rents per capita in Central America converge? and (ii) have the cojunctural cicles been assimilating themselves during the last decades? To answer these questions new analysis methods of chronological series are applied. The set of data not only contains the rents per capita from Costa Rica but also the ones from Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and, as reference value, from the USA during the period from 1920 to 2013.

People involved: Prof. Dr. Max Soto (UCR), Prof. José Cordero (UCR), Prof. Frank Westermann, Ph.D. (UOS) und Katharina Mersmann (UOS)

Partners involved: Universidad de Costa Rica: Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencias Economicas (IICE) Universität Osnabrück: Costa Rica Zentrum (CRZ), Institut für Empirische Wirtschaftsforschung (School 9).

Financing: Universität Osnabrück, Sievert Stiftung für Wissenschaft und Kultur

Project phase: Data collection/ Data evaluation

Cultural conceptions of attachment in Costa Rica

The theory of attachment is one of more influential theories in the psychology of development. Based on the fundamental conception works by the English psychiatrist John Bowly, the attachment theory states the need of establishing a link with a person of determined reference. That need is acquired during the first year of life and it is later considered as the organizer of the development in the future. The definition of attachment as well as the assumptions over the ontogeny of the quality of the attachment are considered universal. From the perspective of evolution, psychology and cultural anthropology, an increasing number of doubts were expressed about the universality assumption. Nevertheless, the universality of the motive of the attachment is not in doubt. But the definition of the term attachment and the ontogeny must be adapted to the corresponding cultural contexts and that's why it's necessary that they vary. This cooperation project with Professor Mariano Rosabal-Coto from the Universidad de Costa Rica must serve as a contribution to the empirical basis of conceptions of attachment related to culture. Given the cultural diversity of the costarican population, the country represents an ideal place for research. It is expected to examine four family groups with a child in his/her first year of life: middle class families living in cities and with euro-hispanic origin, afro-caribbean families, native families and less educated families from rural regions. On this data qualitative and quantitative methods are applied.

People involved: Prof. Dr. Heidi Keller, Prof. Dr. Mariano Rosabal-Coto

Partners involved: Universidad de Costa Rica, Instituto de Investigaciones de Psicología; Universität Osnabrück, Institut für Psychologie, Costa Rica Zentrum

Financing: Sievert Stiftung für Wissenschaft und Kultur

Project phase: Planning

Regional literature of Central America

This project studies until now less regarded regional literatures. A big part of the project is focused on the narratology of the first half of the XX century. The main goal of the project is to research the cultural diversity in relation with the formation of national identity discourses.

People involved: Prof. Dr. Werner Mackenbach, Prof. Dr. Francisco Rodriguez Cascante, Prof. Dr. Susanne Schlünder, Prof. Dr. Magdalena Vázquez Vargas

Partners involved: Universidad de Costa Rica: CIDICER, Cátedra Wilhelm y Alexánder von Humboldt en Humanidades y Ciencias Sociales; Universität Osnabrück: Institut für Romanistik/ Latinistik

Financing: Universidad de Costa Rica: CIDICER (Centro de Investigaciones sobre Diversidad Cultural y Estudios Regionales), Universität Osnabrück

Project phase: proposal presentation

Newest poetry from Latin America and the Caribbean (latinale.academica)

Together with a student research and teaching group  (latinale.academica), associated to the Latinale Poetry Festival (, the newest poetic styles from Latin America and the Caribbean are explored. A focal point is found in Costa Rica for example with the poetry of Luis Chaves who in October 2015 was able to visit the University Osnabrück in the scope of the Latinale (with collaboration from the Literature Office in West Lower Saxony).

People Involved: Dr. Rike Bolte, research group latinale.academica at the University Osnabrück (Andre Beyer-Lindenschmidt, Katja Brama, Alisa Farthmann and Philip Hillebrandt), Dr. Luis Alberto Arellano (Universidad de Querétaro),  Ethel Barja (Brown University)

Partners Involved: Festival de la Palabra and Universidad de Puerto Rico (Río Piedras) (requested)

Financing: University Osnabrück

Project Phase: Planning

Development of concepts for clinical palliative treatment and for chronic terminal patients in Costa Rica

The circumstances of the people in terminal phases represent an increasing challenge for the nursing homes given the growing numbers of cuts in authorized stays and the increase in age of entry residents, some of whom enter with serious diseases. The goal of the project is that, while using an integrated and methodical process, empirically-based proposals are going to be required for a generalized ans specialized palliative care in the nursing homes in Costa Rica. As well as necessary changes to the structure and process to recognize the successful integration of a high quality culture of palliative care. The empirical data will serve as the basis to create a development concept that contains a detailed catalog of the necessary structural and qualified measures for a differentiated continual development of the current care proposals

People involved: Prof. Dr. Hartmut Remmers, Dr. Carlos Acuña Aguilar, Manuel Zimansky

Partners involved: Universidad Santa Paula

Financing: Sievert Stiftung für Wissenschaft und Kultur

Project phase: proposal presentation