Professor Dr Thorsten Bührmann

Thorsten Buehrmann

Prof. Dr. Thorsten Bührmann
Professor for Social Sciences and Research Methods

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Professor Thorsten Bührmann studied educational sciences, psychology and sociology at the University of Paderborn and completed his studies as Diplom-Pädagoge (equiv. M.A. Education), with focus on adult education. He proceeded with an additional further education module (3 years) in “Systematic counselling and family therapy” at the Wissenschaftliches Institut für Beratung und Kommunikation Paderborn (WIBK) (equiv. Academic Institute for Counselling and Communication Paderborn (WIBK)) in cooperation with the Familienkolleg München.

From 1999-2007, Thorsten Bührmann was academic staff at the University of Paderborn in the working group “Adult education/ General Education” at the Institute for Education. In line with this work, he completed his doctoral thesis on the topic „Übergänge in sozialen Systemen“ (equiv. Adaptations in social systems).

Since 2007, Thorsten Bührmann was University Teacher (Lehrkraft fuer besondere Aufgaben) in the area of school education at the University of Paderborn and in 2011, was appointed Akademischer Rat (equiv. Assistant Professor). In this role, he took over the course management of the Institute for Education at the University of Paderborn. Since 2015, he is responsible for the academic guidance of the tutorial program at the Faculty for Cultural Sciences.

With the beginning of the winter semester 2016/2017, he commenced the role as Professor for Social Sciences and Research Methods at MSH Medical School Hamburg.

His practical work experiences stem from his work at the ESTA-Bildungswerk e.V. where he worked from 200-2003 on vocational integration training courses for people with rehabilitation needs and for long-term unemployed people. Besides, he is involved with extracurricular work in the area of adult education and organization development as systemic counsellor and officer for further education modules, qualifications and trainings since 2000. In 2008, he contributed to the development of the AWO-Institut für Bildung und Beruf (equiv. AWO-Institute for Education and Professions). He further cooperates with the institute in the conceptualization of project development, its realization and the resulting personnel development measures. 

Finally, Thorsten Bührmann is co-editor of the academic journal „Der pädagogische Blick - Zeitschrift für Wissenschaft und Praxis in pädagogischen Berufen" and deals with social- and educational political boards and working groups, such as the cooperation board Schulsozialarbeit (school social work).


Key objective of Thorsten Bührmann’s teaching is the development and promotion of professional pedagogical work. He has 15 years of work experience in academic teaching at the University of Paderborn and as assistant teacher at the University of Innsbruck and the University of Duisburg-Essen.

Core teaching areas include

  • Foundations and (empirical) methodologies of practice and evaluation research
  • Theories and concepts of pedagogical thought and action
  • Changes and critical life circumstances in the curriculum vitae
  • Competence acquisition and –development in the context of lifelong learning
  • Foundations and methodologies in the consultation and guidance of personal and organizational change- and development processes.

Furthermore, he conducted seminars on didactic skill enhancement of academic staff at the University of Paderborn and at the University of Kassel.

Research Focus

Key research areas are qualitative evaluation- and practice research. This is a dialogue between research and the design of pedagogical practical work. Depending on the current needs, he incorporates quantitative research methods.

In the past 15 years, he was involved in research of the following topics:

  • Job orientation & professional change processes
  • Competence management in the professional- and youth social work
  • School absenteeism & heterogeneity in biographies
  • Transfer in the early education
  • Internationalization in academic teaching

An overview and additional information and materials can be found here


Thorsten Bührmann has published a large number of publications, both research oriented foundational work as well as practice oriented contributions, reports and papers. Focus herein is the job orientation and professional change processes in adolescents and adults, competence acquisition in educational processes, school denial and school absenteeism as well as participation in youth social work. He further published on methodological foundations and methods of practice research as well as the consultation of research-based learning.

Details can be accessed here.

  • German