FAMS training program
The WZB research data management team is currently in its fourth year of training apprentices to become “Specialists in Market and Social Research” (Fachangestellte für Markt- und Sozialforschung, FAMS). Created in 2006 by the relevant trade associations, this occupation has become firmly established at private market research companies, scientific social research institutions, and official statistics institutes.
The training curriculum covers all steps needed to conduct market or social research projects: designing questionnaires, conducting surveys, processing returned surveys, performing quality and validity checks as part of data processing, analyzing data with the help of standard statistics software, as well as preparing and visualizing project results. In addition, the trainees learn how to use project management plans, which reduces the time researchers have to spend on operational and organizational tasks.
At the WZB, FAMS training is situated at the intersection of research and research-supporting administrative work. The focus is on real-world aspects, and trainees are given much room for independent work. Moreover, trainees are assigned to selected research units, such as the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) project group or the junior research group on Risk and Development (RENT). Thus they gain insights into the units’ concrete, day-to-day research activities. At the same time, researchers can take advantage of the trainees’ specialized expertise.