About Us

The University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research (ISR) is the world's largest academic and social science survey and research organization. We are a leader in developing and applying new social science methods, and we are committed to educating the next generation of social scientists. After a rich sixty-year history, we continue to broaden our scientific reach through international ventured and new collaborations with federal agencies, foundations, corporations, and private individuals.

ISR serves as a telescope on society, bringing the attitudes and behavior of people into clearer focus. Our annual budget of more than $80 million supports the research of more than 200 scientists from 20 disciplines, including psychology, business, economics, public health, demography, statistics, and engineering.

Our large survey studies include the Surveys of Consumers, the Health Retirement Study, the National Survey of American Life, the Monitoring the Future Study, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, and the World Values Study. These studies -- providing data on voting behavior, teen drug and alcohol use, consumer confidence, the health and economic status of Black Americans, and other topics -- are among our most visible work. But we also develop and test survey methodologies; conduct experimental studies; maintain and distribute the world's largest archive of computerized social science data; and train and educate researchers and students from around the world in survey methodology and survey research.

Within the ISR are five separate but interdependent centers, each with particular focuses and capabilities: the Survey Research Center, the Research Center for Group Dynamics, the Population Studies Center, the Center for Political Studies, and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. Our research scientists are entrepreneurs, collaborating with colleagues to compete for public and private research funding. The core disciplinary strengths within the centers provide the intellectual foundation for the multi- and interdisciplinary research that distinguishes our work.