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Photo credit: Anna Logue

Research at the School of Social Sciences

The School of Social Sciences is well-known for its cutting-edge research, whose outstanding quality has been confirmed time and again by various rankings. Our three departments Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology provide a stimulating environment for early-stage researcher, where they can advance their academic careers and have the opportunity to pursue a doctorate or habilitation.

 

  • Empirical-analytical research with a quantitative focus

    All three departments of the School (Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology) are devoted to a theoretically informed, empirical-analytical approach to research with a focus on quantitative methods. This includes both methods for controlled data collection (e.g., surveys, observations, experiments) and methods for statistical data analysis.

    We strive not only to apply these methods during ongoing research projects, but also to enhance existing methods of data collection and analysis and develop new ones. This aim is pursued at the chairs specifically concerned with methodology in the social sciences.

  • Methodological diversity

    Even though all three departments have some basic features in common, they use very different methods when it comes to collecting and analyzing data.

    • In Psychology, basic research primarily relies on experiments.
    • Research projects in Sociology and Political Science are based on repeated surveys among selected samples (panel data) or on data drawn from official national or international statistics.

    With respect to data analysis, the three departments predominantly use multivariate statistical methods that are based on the General Linear Model of mathematical statistics, such as variance analysis for experimental data and regression analysis for panel data.

  • Interdisciplinarity

    All three subjects are increasingly embracing more diverse research methods – a development that results in a greater overlap in the entire field of social sciences.

    This trend is not limited to methods, though. There are a number of common themes that connect the three subjects on the content level, too. Therefore, the School of Social Sciences has a couple of chairs that deal with shared research interests, for example the chairs of Political Sociology, Social Psychology, and Political Sociology.

    The chairs of Political Economy, Consumer and Economic Psychology, and Economic and Organizational Sociology combine social sciences with business and economics.

Research at institutions that are part of the University of Mannheim

The School of Social Sciences is very strong in research, with a large part of the research carried out by the working groups of the chairs. Researchers at the School of Social Sciences also engage in interdisciplinary research and jointly work on a variety of projects with scholars from other fields. Formal cooperation takes place in the context of the following institutions:

  • The Collaborative Research Center 884, “Political Economy of Reforms”, is run by the School of Social Sciences together with the Department of Economics and is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). 
  • Most research projects related to the areas of political science and sociology are carried out at the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES). 
  • The Otto Selz Institute for Applied Psychology (OSI) conducts basic and practice-oriented research in the area of applied psychology, whereby it cooperates with other research institutions and health care organizations.
Photo credit: Anna Logue
CRC 884

Collaborative Research Center 884 “Political Economy of Reforms” (sometimes abbreviated to “SFB 884” for “Sonderforschungsbereich” in German)

Photo credit: Anna Logue
MZES

Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES) 

Photo credit: Anna Logue
OSI

Otto Selz Institute

Cooperation with research institutions not part of the University of Mannheim

GESIS

GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences

ZEW

Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), member of the Leibniz Association

ZI

Central Institute of Mental Health (ZI) run by the Land of Baden-Württemberg

Cooperation with other universities

SMiP

Research training group “Statistical Modeling in Psychology”