AN EMPIRICAL STUDY OF THE EDUCATIONAL FORMATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF A SPECIFIC STUDY PROGRAMME IN HIGHER EDUCATION
The following abstract is placed within the topic area of Curriculum Design and/or New Challenges for the Higher Education Area cf. the conference topics and is to be orally presented at the conference.
Researchers have historically studied, analysed and concluded on various aspects of Higher Education  . However, there seems to be a lack of knowledge about the educational formation and development of specific study programmes in Higher Education, a task that the present paper seeks to do.The paper, therefore, presents the research design of an empirical study that concerns the founding of a radically different study programme within the Danish University sector, namely that of Humanistic Informatics which is placed in the Department of Communication and Psychology at Aalborg University, Denmark.The empirical data consists of eight interviews with high-profile professors/ associate professors within the Department, curricula from 1985 to 2013 and various texts with relevance to the study programme.
2. The method
The method for conducting the research is based on the principals of Grounded Theory – more specifically Adele Clarkes Mapping Historical Discourses . In order to grasp the related areas to the study of a specific study programme in Higher Education such as technology, community development and educational sociology, a greater theoretical insight is needed: Giddens , for example, stresses that human social interaction is increasingly separated in time and space as a consequence of modernity. It is interesting to relate this sociological view to the historical development of a specific study programme in Higher Education when we take into consideration that human beings and technology have just undergone a remarkable community creating development. Fairclough’s Critical Discourse Analysis offers tools to understand change and intertextuality and makes it possible to go both in depth and in width with the empirical data .
The method is therefore designed as a cross-disciplinary discourse study that embraces both social change and technological development in the attempt to identify and understand the genesis and development of a study programme in Higher Education.
3. Contributions and originality
Based on the question of how we empirically can study the formation and development of a specific study programme in Higher Education, the paper seeks to present the empirical foundation from which it is possible to derive the discourses that have created, developed and changed a specific study programme in Higher Education.
 Clarke, Adele E. (2005) Mapping Historical Discourses. In Situational Analysis. Grounded Theory After the Postmodern Turn, SAGE Publications
 Corbett, A. (2005). Universities and the Europe of Knowledge: ideas, institutions and policy enterperneurship in European Union higher education 1955-2005. London, Palgarve MacMillan.
 Fairclough, Norman (1992): Discourse and social change. Cambridge, Polity Press
 Giddens, Anthony (1991). Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age
 Pinto-Coelho, Z. & Carvalho (2013). Academics Responding to Discourses of Crisis in Higher Education and Research. CECS-Communication and Society Research Centre. University of Minho.