The research conducted at the CSO concentrates alternately on the State, markets, professions, work, law, and organizations. The interdisciplinary team (composed of sociologists, political scientists, and historians) employs an array of theoretical frameworks and combines various qualitative and quantitative methodological approaches, such as interviews, questionnaires, observation, and analyses of networks, archives, and databases. Their research is marked by a firm empirical approach to data collection, production, and analysis as well as by the frequent use of international and cross-sector comparisons to enable generalizations.

The subjects of study are numerous, including higher education and research policies, environmental controversies, public health affairs, the economic behavior of consumers, labor markets, crisis management, public policies regarding household finances, social network analysis, and more. Research at the CSO is organized into 5 research programs that share points of convergence so as to promote a collaborative dynamic and transversal thinking:

Law, norms, and regulations program

Work, employment, and professions program

Governance and economic organizations program

Knowledge, science, and expertise program

Public policy and transformations of the state program