LIFE eQuality?

Teenagers’ research into quality of life – a comparative interregional study

„LIFE eQuality?“ is a joint project by the Institute of Geography at Innsbruck University and the students and teachers of one participating school in Austria, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland respectively. The co-operation focuses on research in the field of quality of life (QOL), performed by the teenagers themselves. Teachers and scientists assist, moderate and evaluate the research process. All partners involved in the process constitute a “community of learners” and hence contribute actively to a sustainable protection of QOL in and for our society.

Researchers from fields as far apart as medicine, law, regional planning, architecture, sociology or geography have added findings so far. Yet neither generally accepted definitions of QOL nor integrative models have been agreed on. Furthermore, data on teenagers and their perspectives is still lacking, a neglect which ought to be remedied. Especially as it is the attitudes, wishes and motivations of the young generation that will coin our living environment in the future. First of all, it is thus the teenagers’ subjective concepts of quality of live that have to be analysed. From this, intersubjective criteria will be deducted and the new aspects fitted into existing QOL models. The evolving integrative QOL model will contribute to fundamental research.

Yet another main focus of „LIFE eQuality?“ will be the application of this new model for a comparative analysis of QOL concepts and the subjective QOL of teenagers on a regional scale in the four alpine regions of Tyrol, Bavaria, Southern Tyrol and Engadin. The results of the study will offer up to date-control knowledge for decision-makers in politics, society and the economy.

The co-operation with the students is designed according to the principles of moderate constructivism. The students have been integrated into the planning of the project from the very beginning, they work on authentic problems, and develop methods of problem solving in a real life related context. The results will be presented in a closing event at Innsbruck University and made readily accessible via an interactive education module.

The choice of core areas and of suitable research methods will be effected autonomously by the teenagers themselves. This approach offers the chance of evaluating potential and feasibility of innovative didactical theories according to scientific criteria. Experiences from the application of these educational concepts will leave their mark on the vocational training of students and teachers just as well as on the didactical discussion in the subject.

This project has been completed.