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Connecting empirical social science research in societal crises

RatSWD working group in the 7th appointment period (2020–2023)

The starting point for this working group was the outbreak of the Corona pandemic in spring 2020 and the emergence of a large number of projects and initiatives that empirically record the social impact of the pandemic and how to combat it. From 2020 to 2023, the RatSWD Office collected information on social, behavioural, educational, and economic studies and initiatives to empirically research the Corona pandemic.
The collection revealed that recurring themes of the RatSWD such as data quality, interoperability between the different projects and a concept for research data management were at best sporadically thought through in the projects.

The aim of this working group was to initiate networking and interoperability of social, behavioural, educational, and economic research projects across methodological boundaries and thus to support the quality assurance of research data and the change in data culture, even in small ad hoc research projects. Results were the establishment and continuation of the database on the RatSWD website and the publication and communication of a standard questionnaire to enable interoperability between studies. The results of the working group were published in the RatSWD Output Series and implemented through workshops and presentations at expert conferences.

In response to the Russian attack on Ukraine in February 2022 and the associated emergence of another crisis with enormous political, economic, and societal impacts, the working group broadened its focus to include the topic of the Ukraine war and refugee movements to Germany. A coordination meeting was organised with researchers from migration research and comparative survey research, and subsequently a collection of studies was created that empirically record the social effects of the Ukraine war. In this way, a further contribution was made to the networking of researchers in societal crises.

  • Format: Working group of German Data Forum (RatSWD) members of the 6th and 7th appointment periods
  • Objective: connect empirical social science research in societal crises
  • Output: establishment of a database, publication of recommendations in the German Data Forum (RatSWD) Output Series, presentation of the results at different events and first steps towards implementation
  • Time frame: start: december 2020, standard questionnaire: spring 2022, publication of results and recommendations in the RatSWD output series: winter 2022/2023, implementation and finalization phase until November 2023.

The working group was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the project “Best_FDM” (Better results through interoperability and standardised research data management: networking empirical social science research in social crises) with the identifier 01UW2000.

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