The mission of the Institute for Empirical-Analytical Research (InFER) is to support empirical research strategies in the social sciences that are mechanism-based and inference-oriented for assessing of processes of social change, social inequality, political participation and representation. The researchers at InFER — faculty, postdoctoral researchers and doctoral candidates — strive to combine state-of-the art data analysis with social scientific theories of the middle range to answer their research questions. Much of our research is comparative, including cross-national and cross-regional designs as well as over-time comparisons, allowing us to link the impact of different institutional settings on processes that generate social change, social inequalities, and political participation. The research conducted at InFER covers a variety of topics. A list of ongoing research projects associated with InFER can be found here.
InFER runs a bi-weekly colloquium, the InFER Colloquium, at which faculty, postdocs and external speakers present their ongoing work. There is also a colloquium for graduate students and postdocs to present their work to others in the qualification phases. Faculty and staff affiliated with InFER provide research methods training in the BA and MA programs of the Faculty of Social Sciences (FB03) and the associated graduate programs. They also organize occasional methods workshops. We are interested in, and employ, a range of methods in our work, including longitudinal models for causal inference with observational data, experiments, text mining and supervised machine learning, QCA and other configurative comparative methods, Bayesian inference and data visualization.