When the SINUS study on right-wing extremist attitudes among Germans, commissioned by the Federal Chancellery, received a great deal of media attention in 1981, SINUS political research became known to a broader public for the first time. Since its founding, the Institute has studied the political perceptions of the population and different subgroups/scenes (K-groups, SPD supporters, educationally disadvantaged youth, churchgoers, cyclists, conservationists, refugees, women in leadership positions, East Germans, Fridays for Future fans etc.).
The focus of SINUS policy research is always on people’s everyday reality – their concerns and needs, their subjective views, interests and idiosyncrasies – and not the reconstruction of conventions and clichés of public opinion. For, as once noted by the sociologists Hammerich and Klein, a change of scenery in the living room is commonly experienced as a greater change than a change of government.
SINUS has a long tradition of research on the milieu-analytical segmentation of the electoral market, which examines the connections between (or increasing decoupling of) lifeworlds and the political system in order to derive target-group strategic indications for political communication or political education. We’ve been working in this field for political parties and party-affiliated foundations since the 1980s. When it comes to political issues (family, environmental, youth, transport policy etc.), our clients are usually ministries and other federal and state institutions, e.g. t,he Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, or the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency
SINUS studies for institutional clients are usually published, and are available in the form of books, brochures, educational videos, and the like. SINUS researchers are often sought-after speakers at press conferences and congresses, or interview partners for radio and television. And time and again, Institute staff members are appointed to important political committees and advisory boards – for example, Dr. Calmbach to the Advisory Board on Boys’ Policy of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs.
The work of SINUS-Institut in the field of politics ranges from basic research and thematic studies with special target groups down to the concept development and review of educational materials and advertising measures. We conduct research nationally (including regionally) and internationally – for example, within the framework of the EU’s “Horizon 2020” program, or the Europe-wide youth study “Generation What?”.