The research group Education and Employment (EQUI) focuses on research questions in the fields of education and social inequality and on related issues that are relevant and critical for societal development such as gender, labor markets, poverty, etc. Specifically we carry out research on:
- Certain target groups (e.g. disadvantaged youth, individuals with migrant background)
- Educational biographies and transitions (early school leavers, school-to-work transitions)
- Macro-structural research (governance of educational systems, analysis of costs and benefits)
- Evaluations of education, labor market and gender policies and programs
- Gender, Diversity and Social Inequality
Our research tasks in these areas comprise basic research as well as applied research and evaluations (empirical, theory-based approach).
In terms of theory, we build on the work of the International Panel on Social Progress (IPSP) and develop a concept of social progress in the realms of education and work. The challenge in this regard lies in the theoretical delineation, definition, and ultimately the measurement of social progress in a heterogeneous and pluralistic society.
In the realm of education this implies for instance to overcome the narrow concept of human capital and to acknowledge the significance of education for societal development in a more holistic manner. The longer term vision of these endeavors is the establishment of an alternative projection of social progress in co-operation with other research groups, that is not confined to the measurement of economic output and growth – but that encompasses a wider set of social and political trends such as developments in terms of well-being and health, social justice, solidarity, non-alienation, and democracy.
EQUI systematically integrates qualitative and quantitative methods and also contributes to the further development of social scientific research designs and methods (e.g. development of indicators, counterfactual impact evaluation, combination of biographical and discursive analysis). We routinely apply the following methods:
- Qualitative data collection by narrative interviews, expert interviews, focus group discussions, participatory observation etc.
- Content analysis
- Reconstructive methods (biographical analysis, documental approaches, discourse analysis)
- Collection of primary survey data (e.g. surveys of program participants)
- Analysis of secondary data (e.g. LFS, EU-SILC, ESS, PISA, TIMSS, PIRLS, PIAAC, AES, CVTS, ASSD, national register-data)
- Descriptive analysis and causal inference, statistical and econometric analysis of large datasets (e.g. regression analysis, survival analysis and Cox regressions)