The objective of the module is to familiarise students with community-research partnerships and their application to a practical socioeconomic problem. Students will be facilitated in leading their own learning and how to develop a proposal consistent with the principles, politics and practices of Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR).

CBPR aims for mutually-beneficial collaboration between researchers and community members in designing and implementing research projects to meet local needs. The approach emphasises the value of experiential learning and critically exploring the epistemological reasoning for and typical assumptions about doing social research, how humans and social structures can be best studied, and who should control the process of how knowledge is produced. Students will gain both an introduction to CBPR approaches and their implementation, responding to the research needs of local community partners and the socioeconomic issues surrounding migrant workers in the hidden economy of Marxloh.

Informal, "hidden" or "shadow" economic activity and the socioeconomic marginalisation of migrant workers within the European Union (EU) have become major topics of academic, policy and public interest in recent years. Germany and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia especially has recently attracted attention given outbreaks of the Covid-19 virus in communities of Roma, Bulgarian and Romanian workers, bringing previously hidden pictures of poor living and working conditions, as well as accusations of "systemic exploitation" and "modern slavery" into public view. Mobile migrant workers in Marxloh, some of which have limited legal rights and social welfare protection within the EU, are living and working within a socioeconomic context that is generally detached and obscured from the mainstream economy and society.

Critical reflection and active engagement form a key expectation of the course. Students prepare in the week before the class by reading, reflecting, answering questions and formulating key points on given texts to be provided on Moodle one week before class. Students are also expected to prepare a research proposal for the community partner’s tender call, while their understanding upon completion of the course will be assessed through an oral exam. The course will be conducted in-person (with appropriate measures, Covid-19 restrictions permitting) and in both English and German.