Photo Felix Imhof

Swiss research into social sciences actively contributes to large international surveys

During the past months, Prof. Dominique Joye joined the methodology committees of three important international studies. The head of IP15, also a professor at the University of Lausanne and a researcher at the Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences FORS, explains the interest to be involved in such scientific endeavours.

“Contributing to a comparative international survey is something really exciting: to see where the same methodological problems arise, but also the way they differ depending on the context; in short, to think about essential issues that are at stake when aiming at quality studies in different countries, which will allow comparisons and therefore relevant data measurements.”

This is a profession of faith made by Prof. Dominique Joye, the leader of NCCR LIVES IP15, who was recently elected in the methodological committees of three international social science surveys:

According to Dominique Joye, who is also vice-dean of the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Lausanne and a partner in the Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences FORS, there are many individual and collective reasons for joining such projects.

“The rapid access to data, which is specific to these international surveys, makes our scientific works become more cumulative”, as the researcher states. He refers for instance to the training of the new generation of academics: “For PhD students, it is easier to learn about the most advanced analytical techniques when there are comparable data available.”

Interest for Switzerland

From a Swiss point of view, Prof. Joye adds “it allows to situate itself in relation to other countries, to know about the state of art, and to identify specific patterns. It may relate to objective characteristics, like for example the proportion of women who are working part-time, as well as to subjective elements, like the way they live this situation.”

He also mentions other research questions, where there could be an interest in comparing Switzerland to other countries, such as social inequalities, xenophobic feelings, etc., so many issues that echo NCCR LIVES’ concerns.

“It is not bad at all to see Switzerland at the heart of these very large international surveys’ methodology”, the head of IP15 is delighted to say.

At a time when Switzerland is showing signs of pullback and when its participation in European research projects is being called into question, the news deserved at least to be shared.