Positioning and Mission
The Austrian Institute for Family Studies (AIF) is a scientific department at the University of Vienna for application-oriented, interdisciplinary studies to examine the structure and dynamics of families. It was founded as a non-profit organisation in 1994 to carry out social research in an interdisciplinary way. In April 2006 the institute was commuted from a non-profit association to a third-party-funded project at the Vienna University which is a legal body under public law. The AIF conducts research and application-oriented research to examine the structure and dynamics of families, generation, gender and partnership. As such our interdisciplinary approach allows a broad differentiated analysis of family issues on theoretical and empirical levels, using qualitative and quantitative research methods.
The multidisciplinary team represents a wide variety of disciplines, among them psychology, sociology, demography, history, economics, statistics and social education, thus ensuring multidisciplinarity in its everyday work. The Institute analyses all issues relating to generations and genders as well as in partnerships to study the wide variety and changes in familial relationships and structures from the perspective of children, women and men. Focal research areas are family and gender relationships, reconciliation of work and family life, psychosocial health, the socio-economic situation of families and political family issues.
To obtain socially and politically relevant findings, the Institute thoroughly studies and evaluates pertinent issues, develops models, does reliable projections, and collaborates with other research institutions. Besides expanding and systematising available basic knowledge on the family, the Institute acts as consultant, advises politicians and offers education and training courses.
Documentation and Communication
To fulfil another specific task - a centralised documentation of family research data and studies - the multidisciplinary team analyses and evaluates pertinent issues, develops models and collaborates with other research institutions to obtain socially and politically relevant findings for a permanent information policy. Besides expanding data on families, the Institute acts as consultant, advises politicians and provides reliable facts on family issues for the public and journalists. Another key area is to provide reliable data on families’ living situations in order to raise the awareness for family topics in the media, among politicians and practitioners. Continuously searching for, documenting, processing and disseminating information and providing reliable facts on family issues for researchers, politicians, journalists and practitioners are typical tasks of the AIF's daily work.
To build up networks and ensure knowledge transfer to the public, the institute distributes a monthly national information service beziehungsweise and a newsletter, a Website, hosts lectures and workshops on a regularly basis and co-operates with federal ministries, provincial governments, local authorities and private organisations involved in family policy. This approach allows a broad yet differentiated analysis of family issues and constitutes a challenge in the Institute’s research orientation. In view of the fact that ‘family science’ has not yet established itself as an independent discipline, the AIF also endeavours to contribute to the development of this field by its transdisciplinary work.