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(Trans-)National Criteria, Norms and Standards in Literary Studies

A Comparative Analysis of Criteria-Based ‘ex ante’ Evaluation Forms of Funding Proposals in the Humanities

Nora Berning, Ansgar Nünning, Christine Schwanecke

Pages 115 - 135

In view of the demand for greater transparency and accountability regarding the expenditure of taxpayers’ money, techniques and practices such as benchmarking and the establishment of seemingly objective criteria used in evaluation have been imported from the United States into European higher education where they are used in all sorts of contexts: for the evaluation of manuscripts, theses, applications, and funding proposals. Focusing on an analysis of criteria, the present study examines evaluation forms distributed among reviewers to assess funding proposals in the humanities. By using a comparative framework, the authors seek to make a meta-theoretical and empirical contribution to the lively debate about quality assessment and assurance in the humanities in general and literary studies more particularly. Drawing on data from ten funding organizations in eight European countries, this is the first empirical study of its kind to address the construction and dissemination of (trans-)national criteria, norms and standards and, in doing so, to make a modest attempt to get to grips with the complex meta-category called ‘quality’.


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