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Research trip of Evgeniia Kuziner

Evgeniia Kuziner, National Research University Higher School of Economics, an author of the best project presented at the Annual CGES Methodological Workshop on Research Methodology, Conceptualisation, Design and Presentation for PhD and MA students, shares impressions of her academic trips supported by the CGES. 

The workshop subtitled ‘What the hell is a research question? And why does my supervisor need it?’ led by Prof. Dr. Tatiana Zimenkova, Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, Germany and Dr. Verena Molitor, Bielefeld University, Germany was held on March 4, 2021 virtually. Participants of the workshop selected through a competitive process briefly presented their research designs, concentrating on the main questions and problems they faced. Evgeniia’s study on ‘Homelessness Coping Strategies in St. Petersburg: A Gender Analysis’ was voted as the best project and she was granted a CGES scholarship to conduct research in Germany. 

“Unfortunately, due to the pandemic situation, my research trip to Germany was impossible. So, after consulting with the CGES, I decided to use the received grant partly for participation in schools and conferences that were helpful for writing my thesis, as well as for traveling to the regions to study homelessness there. Additionally, I took online interviews with regional experts and NGO staff from Germany. The aim of the trip is to study how the regions cope with the situation of homelessness, and whether they pay attention to the gender aspects of the problem. It took me a long time to choose the region for the trip, so I consulted with Nochlezhka (one of the largest organizations helping the homeless). As a result, I chose Tyumen and Kurgan – there is almost no information about NGOs and services for the homeless there, plus they are relatively close and convenient in terms of logistics. I visited an NGO in Tyumen (сenter «Miloserdie» and shelter for Homeless Women «Nadezhda»), as well as the government center for helping the homeless in Kurgan and the Orthodox Diocese of Kurgan (the main agents for helping the homeless in the region). I interviewed social workers and people who are experiencing homelessness. In total, I have collected 15 interviews that I will use to write an academic paper as part of my thesis. Using my previous data and newly collected data, I want to write an article about how the concept of “homelessness” is constructed in theoretical material and in the work of social workers. So, for example, I noticed that regional social workers more often use and distinguish between the concepts of "bomzh" and "bich", where "bomzh" is a person who literally lives on the street, and a “bich” is a person having the lifestyle of a homeless person, but not necessarily homeless. There are no such differences in the rhetoric of social workers in St. Petersburg.”

Next Workshop will be held in March 2022. The call for applications will be announced in February 2022.