The Institute for Social Research (ISR) consists of five separate but interdependent research centers, each with a particular focus and capabilities. More than 300 research scientists are affiliated with one or more of the ISR research centers. They come from more than 20 academic disciplines, including psychology, business, economics, public health, political science, demography, statistics, and engineering. Their work provides the foundation for the Institute’s legacy of social science in the public interest.
Our centers include:
Center for Political Studies
The Center for Political Studies (CPS) is recognized around the world as a leader in the quantitative study of politics and an innovator in research methods and training. Its scholars investigate the interactions among public opinion, political action, political processes, elections, institutions, political parties, and individuals – themes united by a concern for democratic process. The Center produces datasets used around the world, infrastructure for the social sciences, and offers training programs for students who go on to work in academia and throughout the private sector and government.
Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) maintains the world’s largest archive of digital social science data. More than 7,000 data collections are part of the archive, with up to 500 new collections added every year. ICPSR provides leadership and training in data access, curation, and methods of analysis for the social science research community. A well-trained staff provides user support to faculty, students, researchers, and policymakers using the extensive online data archive. ICPSR conducts research in the emerging field of data science and works to promote data sharing around the world.
Population Studies Center
Since 1961, the Population Studies Center (PSC) has served as an interdisciplinary community of scholars in population research and training. PSC affiliates pursue independent research in sociology, economics, public health, biostatistics, etc. with support from Center staff and resources. PSC supports a substantial portfolio of domestic and international demographic research in family change; health and mortality trends; human capital, labor and wealth; and population dynamics. In addition, the Center runs a large training program for pre- and post-doctoral scholars interested in population studies; maintains a library and data archive; and administers (along with SRC) the NIA-sponsored Michigan Center on the Demography of Aging.
Research Center for Group Dynamics
The Research Center for Group Dynamics (RCGD) has advanced the understanding of human behavior in social contexts since 1948. RCGD conducts experimental studies in laboratories and in natural settings, including schools, businesses, and community groups. These studies shed light on issues related to social decision-making, prejudice, social relations, attitudes, and emotion. The findings have immediate practical applications to social concerns such as crime, delinquency, and racism.
Survey Research Center
The Survey Research Center (SRC) is an international leader in interdisciplinary social science research involving the collection and analysis of data, especially data from scientific sample surveys. SRC conducts some of the most widely cited and influential studies in the world. SRC also advances the scientific method of social research through teaching and training. The Center’s Survey Research Operations unit provides cutting-edge study design, data collection, and data processing services for national and international as well as small-scale, regional studies. Its Program in Survey Methodology trains the next generation of survey statisticians and methodologists.