Social sciences are seminal when it comes to framing the major societal problems that we address in our research and development projects. Therefore, SYNYO includes broad experience and expertise in conducting social science research from a variety of theoretical perspectives. The spectrum includes topics such as delinquency, urban studies, education, ageing and care, participation and migration – including a strong relation to the application of novel communication technologies.
Different topics however require different methods for empirical research. SYNYO has therefore established an interdisciplinary team to cover these issues with a variety of methodological approaches. For covering a high number of respondents, SYNYO is conceptualizing quantitative online surveys to collect data and analyse it with state-of-the-art software for getting a better understanding of the competencies, problems, needs and requirements of key decision makers and stakeholders. However, we see mixed-methods approaches in empirical research as particularly seminal. Hence, our team has developed a profound expertise in qualitative research, including semi-structured qualitative interviews and expert interviews that are analysed in qualitative content analysis. Furthermore, focus groups and workshops belong to our set of qualitative methods of social science research.
The topics, which are discussed in these single- or multi-stakeholder research approaches, covers very different fields from research to development and include perceptions and opinions towards challenges, obstacles, practices, solutions, products, services or broader ideas. Finally, especially software and application development processes require end user involvement, where the functionality and the operability of the software are tested. SYNYO provides know-how for structured end-user tests in order to get clear instructions for improving digital solutions.
For covering a high number of respondents, SYNYO is conceptualizing quantitative surveys. After designing a questionnaire, online surveys allow us to collect data and state-of-the-art software helps us to analyse it. We use quantitative methods for example in stakeholder studies. They aim at getting a better understanding of the competencies, problems, needs and requirements of key decision makers such as policy makers, community leaders or representatives from the private sector.
A particular focus of SYNYO lies on qualitative interviews and on analysing these data in a qualitative content analysis. A specific form of qualitative interviews is expert interviews. Experts are crucial for acquiring in-depth knowledge on specific topics. As this expertise is needed in research and development projects, we have years of experience in the conception and conduction of expert-interviews.
Both quantitative and qualitative empirical research methods do have advantages as well as blind spots. While quantitative approaches provide the chance for studying a representative sample of society or social groups, qualitative research allows a direct entanglement with selected respondents for getting in-depth insights on a particular problem. Depending on the problem, SYNYO is implementing both single- and multi-stakeholder focus groups for creating solutions.
Responsible Research and Innovation
Against the background of the expertise that was acquired in international and national research projects, SYNYO has expertise in developing ethical guidelines along the main ethical questions and requirements related to particular research and development projects. These ethical guidelines include for example aspects of gender equality, social inclusion, and research with under-age persons. A continuous monitoring, which is also offered by our team, will guarantee the implementation and compliance of the ethical guidelines.
Research Data Management
Due to the growing amount of data, which are collected and processed in applied research or in development, the issues of privacy and data management are becoming more and more important. We have many years of experience in working with personal data and develop Privacy and Data Management Plans (PDMP) for research and innovation projects. Depending on the project, these PDMP might for example include protocols for working with big amount of data and for protecting personal data.
According to current trends in European and international research programs, open science and access to knowledge becomes more and more important in the research and development landscape. However, this also opens questions of copyrights and processing of knowledge by other players, and many institutions and companies do not have experience on these issues. Based on a variety of research projects, SYNYO offers expertise related to creative commons and accessibility of knowledge.