Mission

As the world’s largest academic social science survey and research organization, the Institute for Social Research (ISR) is a leader in developing and applying new social science methods and is committed to educating the next generation of social scientists.

Our scientific mission is threefold:

  • To plan and conduct rigorous social science research
  • To disseminate the findings of this research, and
  • To train future generations of social scientists.

ISR serves as a telescope on society, bringing the attitudes and behavior of people into clearer focus. Our large survey studies include the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, the Health and Retirement Study, the National Survey of American Life, the Monitoring the Future Study, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, and the World Values Study. These studies — providing data on voting behavior, teen drug and alcohol use, consumer confidence, the health and economic status of Black Americans, and other topics — are among our most visible work. But we also develop and test survey methodologies; conduct experimental studies; maintain and distribute the world’s largest archive of computerized social science data; and train and educate researchers and students from around the world in survey methodology and survey research.

Our research scientists are entrepreneurs, collaborating with colleagues to compete for public and private research funding. The core disciplinary strengths within our centers provide the intellectual foundation for the multi- and inter-disciplinary research that distinguishes our work.

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