Vocational education and training (VET) research is still a relatively new term; it did not become established until the 1970s. VET research denotes a domain that is addressed by various scientific disciplines. Studies classified as VET research include, in particular, all those that deal with vocational learning, VET institutions and systems, occupational and labour market development, the learning-conducive design of work processes, and skills development. Scientific studies in the field of VET research are therefore characterised by multi-disciplinarity. The disciplines that contribute to VET research include, in particular:

·         Educational sciences/vocational and business education

·         Business administration

·         Economics of education

·         Psychology/occupational psychology

·         Sociology/occupational sociology

·         Macroeconomics

Moreover, there are overlaps with other disciplines, for example, law, economics, ergonomics, and health science.

Institutionally, VET research in Germany can be found, on the one hand, at various university departments (of vocational and business education) and, on the other hand, at public or private non-university institutes at federal or Land level. In 1991, a number of important institutions in Germany that conduct VET research formed the Vocational Education and Training Research Network Association (AG BFN).

Many recent developments have led to the enhancement of the prestige of VET and to its expansion or extension to other scientific areas. For example, due, among other things, to the reform of higher education as part of the "Bologna process" and to the increase in the number of dual study programmes (i.e., academic study programmes combined with vocational or practical training in a company or institution), VET increasingly extends into the higher education sector.

Open Access in VET research

Since 2019, the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) has operated the VET Repository, a central repository for research in the area of VET. In addition to monographs and edited volumes, the repository contains journal articles and contributions to edited volumes. References to online publications are linked to the respective full texts. The holdings of the previous Vocational Education and Training Literature Database (LDBB) have been integrated into the VET Repository.

Open Access journals in the domain of VET research


  • Rödel, Bodo (2017). Open Access in der Berufsbildungsforschung. Bonn. URN: nbn:de:0035-0651-9v


Content editor of this webpage: Dr Bodo Rödel, Head of Publications and Scientific Information Services at the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB)