The research group Education and Employment (EQUI) focuses on research questions in the areas of education, employment, and social inequality.
Specifically, we carry out research on the following topics:
- Specific target groups (e.g., adolescents, disadvantaged youth or pupils, individuals with migrant backgrounds, LGBTIQ+ individuals)
- Educational biographies and transitions (early school leavers, transition from education to employment, adult and continuing education)
- Employment and occupation (conditions and quality of work, demand for qualifications and skills as well as mismatch in the labor market, returns to education, adult and continuing education)
- Macrostructural questions (governance of educational systems, social structure analysis and social mobility, institutional analysis of the interplay between education and employment)
- Evaluations of education, labor market, and gender policies and programs
- Gender, diversity, and social inequality
Our research projects in these areas comprise both basic and applied research and evaluations (empirical, theory-based approach).
Building on the work of the International Panel on Social Progress (IPSP), we are developing a concept of social progress in the realms of education and employment. The challenge in this regard is to theoretically delineate, define, and ultimately measure social progress in a heterogeneous and pluralistic society.
In the realm of education, this implies for instance overcoming the narrow concept of human capital and acknowledging the significance of education for societal development in a more holistic manner. In the field of the labor market, this entails, for example, enriching the analyses with the dimension of quality of employment. The long-term vision of this endeavor is to establish, in collaboration with other research groups, an alternative measurement and assessment of social progress that is not confined to the measurement of economic output and growth but encompasses a wider set of social and political trends, such as developments in well-being and health, social justice, solidarity, non-alienation, and freedom. To increase the visibility of our research and promote the topic of social progress, we have established and continue to develop our website in_progress.
EQUI systematically integrates qualitative and quantitative methods as well as contributes to the advancement of social science 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 through narrative interviews, expert interviews, focus group discussions, participatory observation, etc.
- Content analysis
- Reconstructive methods (biographical analysis, 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, AMDB, national register data)
- Descriptive analysis and causal inference, statistical and econometric analysis techniques (e.g., regression analysis, time series and panel methods, multilevel models, implementation of quasi-experimental designs)