Tom Kindt

Jörg Schönert

Norms and Standards as Necessary Guidelines for Scholarly Practice


Full-length article in: JLT 5/2 (2011), 233–243.

Practice in academic study (Wissenschaft) is guided by norms and standards that direct behaviour so that it is possible to scrutinize the way in which knowledge is generated, structured, evaluated, and distributed, and to configure the structures and functions of the system in which this study takes place. Such guidelines are associated with various scopes and sanctions that allow them to be enforced. Norms generally tend to be positioned above the level of individual disciplines and to affect the production, shape, and validity of academic knowledge, and the organization of scholarly communities – they are parameters of good academic practice.

In the current debates about academic research, standards are discussed particularly often with reference to the assessment of quality. What the hell is quality? Qualitätsstandards in den Geisteswissenschaften (2008, edited by Elisabeth Lack and Christoph Markschies; the subtitle translates as ›Quality Standards in the Humanities‹) can claim to serve as a model in this respect. In the philologies, subjectspecific standards for the generation, verification, and communication of knowledge are represented and communicated in what are known as codifying publications (e. g. reference works and handbooks) and in introductions to the study of literature, as well as in curricula and course schedules and in examination regulations.

In literary studies, such standards (in the combination of literary-theoretical assumptions, methodological parameters, methods of work, and forms of presentation) have always been particularly apparent where practice in the field of textual editing and commentary is concerned (German Editionsphilologie). It is also easy to see here how standards compete and are changed as a result of internal developments in scholarship and external processes and situations (such as, for example, the editorial possibilities opened up by techniques ranging from conventional typesetting, to photomechanical reproduction, to current electronic representations). Reference is made to publications in this area since the 1970s.

Finally, current German practice in the philologies for reaching a decision about who should be offered a professorship is described as an example of the interaction between general academic norms and discipline-specific standards in the sense of evaluation criteria and assessments of quality.


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How to cite this item:

Abstract of: Jörg Schönert, Normen und Standards als notwendige Regulierungen (literatur-)wissenschaftlicher Praxis.

In: JLTonline (12.07.2011)


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