What is a scientific concept

German Institute for Social Economy

In view of the high complexity of the research projects in various areas of social work, with which DISW is commissioned, good experience has been gained in the past with the development of multi-dimensional research designs from quantitative and qualitative methods of social research, which is supplemented by method-based aspects of participatory concept development .

Overview of scientific research methods of the DISW

desk work / conceptual work

  • Literature research
  • Concretization and operationalization of the evaluation goals
  • Selection and specification of the essential objects of investigation
  • Development of an evidence-based evaluation concept (structural quality, process quality, result quality)
  • Literature and data research and evaluation
  • Document analysis (including reports and documents, case histories, files)
  • Cluster formation and analysis of the ideal types
  • Development of standardized questionnaires (quantitative research methods)
  • Development of partially standardized development of interview guidelines (qualitative research methods)
  • Development of guidelines for structured, semi-open telephone interviews
  • Deriving suggestions and recommendations
  • Reporting and documentation
  • Concretization with the scientific advisory committee
  • Coordination with the research advisory board

fieldwork / quantitative research methods

  • Primary survey based on questionnaires and telephone interviews
  • Secondary analytical data evaluation
  • Structural data collection

fieldwork / qualitative research methods

  • Guided individual interviews
  • Guided focus group interviews
  • trialogue-based focus groups

In order to methodically guarantee this participatory development and practice-relevant feedback, a local-regional reference to the relevant actors is usually necessary and is anchored by the institute in the coordinated research design. Particularly noteworthy are the existing networks to relevant user groups of the various employees and experts of the institute. Only in this way can possible stakeholder cooperation be designed.

Quality assurance at DISW is usually carried out through cooperation with a research advisory board or an accompanying committee, through professional management (monitoring and controlling) of the course of the project, a special data protection concept, the use of proven empirical methods and, if necessary, the establishment of cooperation with other actors. Workshops, in which the practicability of the developed concepts are 'tested' for their acceptance and feasibility, are another quality feature of the practical research at DISW. In this way, the heterogeneous potentials and possibilities that are available during concept development are compared with practice and concretized.