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Theo van der Zee

Theo van der Zee

Bridge between theory and practice

Their successful initiatives includes the rolling out of KiVa, an anti-bullying programme for primary schools. ‘KiVa is a great example of how sociological research can be used to solve problems in society,’ explains Theo van der Zee, co-founder of SocioQuest. His colleague in this venture is René Veenstra, a professor who has carried out pioneering research into bullying behaviour among children. Veenstra and his research group introduced the Finnish antibullying programme, KiVa, into Dutch primary schools to examine its effectiveness in the Netherlands.


The first results of their experiments showed that the incidence of bullying dropped considerably in the KiVa schools. But having established this, what do you do next? Van der Zee: ‘Academics are not there to implement knowledge; that is not their job. Their job is to conduct research. SocioQuest enables a programme like KiVa to be put into practice, in a way that actually works.’ In June 2014, teachers in dozens of new schools will be trained in the KiVa method.


Another SocioQuest initiative is ZorgfocuZ, a research agency that works on assignments from within the care sector. The focus is on the experiences and opinions of clients, staff and other stakeholders. Van der Zee: ‘In ZorgfocuZ, we apply research methods that are common in academic research, but rarely or not yet used in practical research. These methods make it easier to interpret the findings of the research, and help in the translation of research into policy.’ ZorgfocuZ has helped dozens of customers since it was founded in 2012. Not all of SocioQuest’s activities are run under sub-labels such as KiVa and ZorgfocuZ. Van der Zee: ‘If a lot of the questions turn out to be similar, we consider pooling them. In the light of the decentralization processes in the social domain, one of the things I’d like to start is a new initiative, with or without cooperation partners, to develop service provision to municipal authorities to help them with the forthcoming changes.’

Last modified:19 June 2014 4.12 p.m.
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