The Research Profile of the Hans-Bredow-Institut

The field covered by the Hans-Bredow-Institut for Media Research is public communication via the media. The media are today determining people’s everyday life, politics, commerce and culture more than ever before. The Institute’s primary goal is to understand this role as performed by the media – by the traditional, but also by the respectively new ones – to assess new developments and the chances and risks attendant on them and to develop options for taking action. In this way, the Institute makes a contribution to the continual observation and reflection of the basis of communication in society; at the same time, it brings its expertise to bear on creating the media and communications landscape.

To this end, the Institute combines a variety of research disciplines: in the foreground stand the perspectives of empirically underpinned social sciences, as well as jurisprudence focusing on processes of regulation. The combination of these two perspectives is one of the special characteristics, which distinguish the Institute vis-à-vis other research organisations in Germany and abroad. 

In a productive manner, the Institute combines conducting long-term investigations based on research fundamentals with practice-oriented expertise in the service of politics, commerce and civil society. Our work in our programmes tailored to problem-solving is here constantly committed to the yardsticks of excellence in research and to the fundamental principle of its independence.

The Institute makes a sustained contribution to promoting the next generations of researchers, especially in the doctoral phase and here works closely with the University of Hamburg and other institutes for training and further education in the city.

That we are firmly anchored in one of the most important sites of media production in Europe, and the possibilities for close cooperation with political, commercial and cultural actors from the industry that this promotes has contributed to the Institute also becoming widely renowned over its 60-year existence on the Federal German and the international research landscapes. The German Council for Science and Humanities already singled out the high standard of our research in 1999 and has installed the Institute among the most prestigious specialist foundations in Germany; in 2007 the Council once again underlined the Institute’s very particular status in media and communication studies in Germany.

International networking enjoys high priority in the Institute’s work. It has established itself evermore as a nexus in an international network of research organisations with cooperative projects on European and international levels, with the exchange of researchers as well as international conference and specialist events. 

The Institute offers important service functions for the communications and media studies in their entirety and for the wider public sphere with its library open to the public, regular publications, especially the specialist research journal, “Medien & Kommunikationswissenschaft” [Media and Communication Studies]. These functions also include the communication of the status of research knowledge for journalism, politics and civil society in plain language. 

Overview of Current Research Projects

As a rule the Institute deploys its research organisationally in the form of single projects oriented towards the research foci named above. The present report is also accordingly structured along individual projects. They are categorised – to enable easier access – according to the classical research areas: media system and policy, media and telecommunications law, media organization and media industry, media offerings and media culture, media use and media effects.