Director's Welcome

Welcome to the Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR)! Our mission is to promote excellence in social science research across the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. We see our work as:

Equipping UMassTraining and support in cutting-edge social science methods and tools for research
Connecting UMassFacilitating meaningful interdisciplinary collaboration among and between social sciences, natural sciences, humanities, and engineering
Supporting UMass: Providing staff and structures to lower hurdles in social science research grant proposal and award processes
Valuing UMass: Making visible the excellent social science research being done and engaging with others beyond campus

Our vision for ISSR is to provide the training and support that allows social scientists at the University to thrive and be counted among the top scholars across the country.

Importantly, ISSR serves social scientists and scholars interested in using social sciences methods across campus, with almost two-thirds of the participants across all our service areas coming from outside the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. We are delighted that students and faculty from literally every College and School at UMass return time and again to draw on our services. 

ISSR may be best known for its excellent methodology program, which includes many workshops provided throughout the year, and one-on-one consulting with graduate student consultants and the Director of Research Methods program, Jessica Pearlman, Ph.D. We support students and faculty in gaining confidence with both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Through ISSR Summer workshops, UMass has become a destination of choice for many faculty and students from around the world, who would like to learn new methods.

ISSR plays a central role in supporting interdisciplinary collaborations among social scientists throughout the campus. ISSR programs bring together faculty engaged in research on pressing social issues, including around many of the issues that reflect federal funding priorities, such as pandemic readiness and prevention; tackling climate change; research and innovation in critical and emerging technologies; innovation for equity; and national security and economic resilience.  

We provide vital support for faculty working toward grant-funded research, through the ISSR Scholars program, which allows faculty to spend a year together writing grant proposals, under the mentorship of ISSR Scholars Leaders. In addition, we work to support proposal development and submissions for faculty across the university.

Finally, we seek to foster greater public engagement. In addition to promoting community-engaged research and highlighting work on racial justice, we partner with the Public Engagement Project and Departments across campus to create greater awareness of the important work that UMass scholars do. We see our role as helping support the translational work that is so critical to informing public debate and to the welfare of people across the world. 

We are proud of the difference ISSR makes to this campus, and want very much to see that impact continue and grow!

Thanks so much for your interest in our work,

Joya Misra
ISSR Director