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The Collective for Social Science Research was established in 2001 with a small core staff of researchers in the social sciences who have extensive experience conducting multidisciplinary research both in Pakistan and internationally. Areas of research interest include social policy, economics, poverty, gender studies, health, labour, migration, and conflict. The Collective's research, advisory, and consultancy partnerships include local and international academic institutes, government and non-governmental organizations, and international development agencies.

The Collective is recognized for three main areas of innovation in the practice of applied social sciences in Pakistan: the introduction of a political economy perspective in macro- and micro-issues; the attention to informal collective action and social networks; and the combination of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. The Collective's objective is to produce high quality academic research in the social sciences and to foster informed debate on social, political and economic issues and policies.
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