With the new Weizenbaum Digital Science Center, the Weizenbaum Institute establishes scientific offerings that create research, networking, orientation, and infrastructure services for interdisciplinary digitalization research and strengthen the coherence of research at the Weizenbaum Institute.
The newly created research units of the Weizenbaum Digital Science Center flank and support the main research topics. Here, integrating, synthesizing, and profile-building functions are developed for the interdisciplinary joint project, and long-term research, networking, orientation, and infrastructure services are established.
The Research Syntheses and Meta Research units are to cooperate flexibly with the research groups and prepare overarching studies on relevant and current topics in each case, which provide an overview of the state of knowledge and thus offer orientation and information for research on the one hand, and for the public and politics in particular on the other. These units should also react flexibly to special social, political or economic situations and address short-term research or transfer needs. Support for interdisciplinary work is also possible, for example by specifically addressing interdisciplinary problems.
The Methods Lab serves the monitoring and development of digital research methods as well as the further development of social science methods for researching the digital transformation of our societies. At the Methods Lab, methods training courses and workshops are developed and conducted to strengthen the methodological skills of researchers at the Weizenbaum Institute.
With the Weizenbaum Panel, long-term data collection projects are located in a separate research unit at the Institute, which provides a special infrastructure service for research at the Institute and for digitization research as a whole beyond specific data collections in the research groups. The core of the panel is an annual standardized survey study in panel design that allows long-term observation of digitization trends in Germany and provides high-quality data for scientific analyses
Meta-research makes digitalization research itself the object of analysis. It is intended to provide orientation about the research field and its relationship to society. The WI wants to moderate the development of digitalization research, give it impulses and link the activities on the regional, national and international level. The WI wants to reflect this task scientifically.
In research syntheses, the current state of research on central issues of digitization is prepared for audiences in science and society in an interdisciplinary, systematic, comprehensible and compact way. Where possible, recommendations for action and statements for digital practice are derived. There are few incentives for research syntheses in the science system. Therefore, although there is a significant need for them, such studies are rarely written.
The research unit “Weizenbaum Panel“ collects longitudinal data on how people perceive digitalization, how people’s democratic and civic attitudes change and how they conceive their role as citizens in a digitizing democracy. With the survey of the same name, the Weizenbaum Panel, high-quality and relevant data is continuously collected, evaluated, and made available to society, the media and the scientific community.
The Methods Lab is the central unit for supporting, connecting, and coordinating the methods training and consulting at the Weizenbaum Institute. Besides assisting ongoing research projects of the research groups and units, the lab also conducts methods research and develops tools for the collection and analysis of digital data.