Study of social changes through expert methods (on the example of the reform of higher education in Ukraine)


The article proposes the testing of tools for studying the trends of social change on the example of the higher education reform. Author proved that social reform is a kind of social change and that it is essential to study it using the methodology of social changes. One of the methods to use in such study is the method of expert judgment. Paper reveals the application of expert methods in the study of social changes trends. The proposed research tool is based on the P. Sztompka’s theory of social changes. The justification of the criteria for selecting experts was suggested. The empirical basis for publication is 8 expert interviews. The participants of the study were university lecturers, university heads, representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine dealing with higher education issues, Higher Education Reform Experts (HERE), representatives of employers at the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education, and representatives of student body, founders of educational online-platforms. Through to the pilot expert study, it has become possible to record the initial state of the study’s object, to define structural changes, and changes of the system composition, to identify changes in the system elements functions, to saw changes in the environment and in the field of individual and collective behavior motivation, to found out the main agents, and the aim of their activities and how they change through reform. The results will be useful firstly for decision-makers to assess the reforms and build further development strategy. The study of reforms as a kind of social change through method of expert judgment from the academic point of view makes it possible to systematize existing knowledge and obtain new one more efficiently.

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