Elite Network: REASON


The International Doctorate Programm “Scientific Reasoning and Argu­men­tation” (REASON) addresses an essential topic for knowledge communities. The REASON doctoral school is represented by its international profile and the participation of multiple disciplines. REASON is structurally supported by the doctoral program in the Learning Sciences.

The International Doctorate Program at a glance

Duration of studySix semester
Place of studyMunich
Admission requirementsMaster’s degree in the learning sciences
Application deadlineApril 15th
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HeadProf. Dr. Frank Fischer
CoordinatorIrina Ciobanu
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Further informationWebsite REASON

Research on Scientific Reasoning and Argumentation

By focusing on scientific reasoning and argumentation (SRA), the Inter­national Doctorate Program REASON addresses a topic of high relevance to the educational practice, in a society where the ability to evaluate and use scientific evidence has become increasingly important for professional as well as private decisions and actions. Universities in par­ti­cular are expected to foster such abilities. In this context, research in REASON focuses on the analysis and the promotion of these com­pe­ten­cies, under the assumption of scien­tific models that define SRA as a problem-solving process.

The interdisciplinary profile of the REASON school fosters research on SRA from the perspective of different fields of study and subdisciplines (e.g., developmental psy­chol­ogy, learning sciences, social work, mathe­matics), allowing investigations of the SRA construct to take several forms. Such research foci include, but are not limited to: precursors of SRA in preschool-aged children, conditional reasoning among elemen­ta­ry-school students, individual differences at the level in­struc­tio­nal scaffolds, fallacies in reasoning, sources of misconceptions regarding the justification of claims, statistical inference-making, and evidence-based practice in relation to educators as well as practitioners. Some overarching questions that bridge all these areas of research include pinpointing which aspects of SRA are domain-specific and which are domain-general, and how these skills can be optimally fostered.

Profile, essential goals and innovative format

The International Doctorate Program REASON has an interdisciplinary focus and involves researchers from biology, education, mathematics, media informatics, medicine, psy­chol­ogy, and social work. Research in REASON has two main objectives:

First, REASON aims to contribute to the advancement of competency models related to scientific reason­ing and argumentation (SRA) by conducting a theory-based analysis of competencies for researchers and practitioners. Second, REASON aims to advance scientific know­ledge on effective interventions of SRA competencies in learners across various age groups, particularly at the school and university level.

Portrait photo: Prof. Dr. Frank Fischer

International doctoral schools offer a very good opportunity for experts from different faculties and universities as well as a group of exceptional nationally and internationally recruited doctoral candidates to work together on an exciting research topic.

Prof. Dr. Frank Fischer

In this context, REASON puts an emphasis on exploring the potential of technology-enhanced learning scenarios. Beyond these content-related goals, REASON also has structural goals. Most importantly, REASON aims at developing and testing innovations concerning how to provide effective and efficient support of doctoral research. These include interdisciplinary and international supervision of doctoral projects, a structured and research-oriented curriculum, as well as research stays abroad at renowned universities.

Snippets of the program

Spring School

We are happy to report on considerable achievements in 2018 from the international doctoral school REASON.

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A speaker in front of an audience presenting a poster visible in the background.

First REASON Videos

Five REASON alumni present the results of their empirical research projects.

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Young people sitting in a seminar room and listening to an engaging speaker.

Snippets of the research

Optimal learning methods

Florian Spensberger investigates how social work students can be supported to engage in evidence-based reasoning (i.e. how to incorporate the best available research evidence) when being confronted with authentic problems from social work practice.

Instructional support

Sarah Bichler investigates differential effects of instructional support in the scope of scientific reasoning and argumentation.

Control of Variables Strategy

April Moeller Bachhuber investigates the development of scientific reasoning abilities in preschool children, with particular focus on the Control of Variables Strategy (CVS).