Religious education scholars are conducting research at various institutions:
- at universities,
- teachers’ colleges,
- theological academies and
- similar institutions.
Furthermore, many colleagues are working in different practical areas of religious education, catechetics and pastoral care, and are investigating scientific topics within and through their work. Last but not least, scholarships and research grants facilitate the acquisition of higher academic qualifications such as doctorates and habilitations.
The “Arbeitsgemeinschaft Katholische Religionspädagogik und Katechetik” (AKRK; Association of Scholars in Catholic Religious Education and Catechetics) is an international association of scholars from German-speaking countries who work in the afore-mentioned areas. Researchers from neighbouring states are frequently participating in the AKRK’s work, as well.
Everyone who is conducting research in religious education and catechetics at or outside of an academic institution can become a member. Applications for membership are to be directed to the executive committee, which decides on the admission of new members.
The AKRK connects scholars and promotes research in its areas of interest and represents the interests of its members within the academia as well as in ecclesiastical and political settings. To do so, it co-operates with the “Deutsche Katecheten-Verein” (DKV, German Association of Catechists), the “Evangelische Gesellschaft für wissenschaftliche Religionspädagogik” (GwR, Protestant Association of Religious Education Scholars), and other national and international institutions and experts.
The AKRK organizes conventions and conducts research projects. Of primary importance are the biennial conferences, which promote networking as well as the discussion of current research questions.
Within the AKRK, there are different departments and study groups, which organize events and publications on their specific topics of interest.
As disciplines of practical theology, religious education and catechetics are always oriented towards educational practice. Therefore, religious education practitioners from schools, parishes, dioceses or school administrations are very welcome to attend the AKRK sessions as guests.
An important medium of the scholarly discourse in religious education is the journal “Religionspädagogische Beiträge”, which is published by the AKRK. Both members and non-members can purchase a subscription of this journal. Generally, all scholars can submit articles for the journal; a process of peer review has been established to ensure the quality of the articles within the disciplines of religious education and catechetics.