Institute for Social Research


The Institute was established in 1950. Our aim is to provide knowledge and understanding in areas that are important for social development and contribute to an enlightened public debate. Read more.

Our main research themes

Working life. The aim of the research is greater insight into employee behaviour, enterprises adaption and labour market, and how benefits and disadvantages are distributed through professional work. We study themes such as wage determination, wage differentials, discrimination, labour participation, unemployment and so on.

Welfare. In research associated with welfare, we study the political, social and economic driving forces behind changes in the welfare state. This may include research on inequality, labour market participation, and the interplay between public welfare and the welfare production that takes place in the labour market, within families and in the voluntary sector.

Gender Equality. A characteristic of our research has been a concentration on structural and political factors: policy on gender equality, gender differences in participation in politics and other elites and analysis of welfare reforms from a gender perspective. We are particularly interested in how gender intersect with other inequality dimensions such as ethnicity, age, class, disability etc.  The Centre for Research on Gender Equality (CORE) has been established by the Institute, as a hub for working-life related gender equality research.

Migration – integration. We study a variety of migration issues, including labour, asylum and refugee policy, welfare, integration, discrimination, European refugee law, irregular immigration, public discourse on the field, education, family, children and adolescents.

Civil Society. Research on civil society and voluntary sector has been an important research theme for many years. The research encompasses features of institutional change and economic regulatory frameworks, as well as the nature of changes in people’s affiliation to voluntary organizations. Institute for Social Research and Stein Rokkan Center for Social Studies/The University of Bergen have established the research programme Centre for Research on Civil Society and Voluntary Sector. 

Elections and Democracy. We study themes such as voting behaviour, political participation and public opinion in connection with the parliamentary elections.  Studies of differences in political behaviour between social groups are a central part of this research.                                                                                     

New media. In the past years, digital media have emerged as a central research theme at the institute. We examine research questions such as: How do political parties and politicians use social media? What impact does social media have on political engagement? How does the digital public sphere affect us? Who dominates, and who are marginalized as a result of this development, and what are its implications for democracy?