Database of skills

One of the tasks of the PEOPLE project was to prepare an online database of skills, relevant in industry or business settings. Our goal was to document the existing as well as the required skills of graduates and practitioners in anthropology, sociology, and psychology. Our aim was to show how the devised PEOPLE methodology and our developed novel pedagogical approach (PEOPLE Learning Cycles) bring together the existing skills, those already taught in higher education curricula, and those required by the industry. Tools and approaches were developed within specific tasks of the PEOPLE project that allowed the Consortium to evaluate and assess the impact - how and which skills were acquired by the participating students during the PEOPLE Learning Cycles and case studies.


Below are the two databases of the existing and required skills. In their identification, we involved participating partners, associated partners and partners of the enlarged PEOPLE Community. We have carried out interviews with experts, focus groups discussions (also as part of consortium meetings) and e-mail questionnaires. The study thus provided us a twofold overview of the skill shortages and learning requirements – one from the industry and business side and the other from the side of academia and research. The industry and business partners identified those required skills, which they believe or have experience the graduates and practitioners of anthropology, sociology, or related field, usually lack or could be enhanced. The final evaluation and impact reports assessed how the PEOPLE project has contributed to the development of industry-required skills of students in anthropology, sociology, psychology, or related fields, participating in the project's activities.

You can choose the number of items you would like to see per page or search the databases by keywords.

Which are the existing skills of students and practitioners in anthropology, sociology, and related fields, relevant for the industry or business requirements?

EXISTING SKILLS (in alphabetical order)SHORT DESCRIPTION (what is it and how is it relevant in industry or business settings)
Strong desire to achieve one’s (research) aims. Determination to carry out specific tasks that lead to the successful completion of the (research) project.
Analytical skills and mind-set
Capacity to visualize, articulate, conceptualize or find solutions for real-life problems.
Changing perspectives
Ability to approach the research question from multiple vantage points, according to the participants in the research, be they non-academic collaborators or research participants.
Ability to effectively explain the research questions and outputs of a project to key stakeholders. Understanding of the various audiences with which one must communicate and the degree of detail required. Use of appropriate language for each type of audience.
Ability to work collaboratively within a group of people in order to achieve PEOPLE goals. Ability to provide constructive feedback, despite conflicts or tensions. Co-creation of research.
Inventiveness necessary in all stages of the project: the use of imagination in designing the appropriate methodology to answer the research question; the resourceful use of data in creating original outcomes of the research (in reports, presentations, photos, films, drawings, etc.).
Critical engagement
Ability to evaluate the research project in a systematic and detailed manner, providing an analysis and critique of the company’s research needs. Awareness of both the advantages and disadvantages of people-centred approaches in dealing with industrial developments or complex societal issues.
CuriosityStrong desire to learn about the complex, messy social world within which companies/ institutions operate. Willingness to empathetically engage with people in order to learn about their everyday needs and the ways in which these could be addressed by the non-academic partner.
Discovering implicit and latent aspects of the research problem
Empathetically creating a relationship of trust with all stakeholders. Actively listening to people’s stories and uncovering the relevance of the given research topic in their lives.
Willingness to adapt to research situations (new discoveries, changes in the field, new requests from non-academic partner, etc.). Capacity to adapt the scope of the research project to fit the people-centred methodology.
IdeationAbility to reveal and synthesize the key findings of people-centred research through the formation of ideas and concepts that shed new light on the research topic.
InterviewingResearch methodology that involves dialogue between researcher and research participant. In the context of people-centred approaches, semi-structured interviews are ideal, because they allow the researcher to ask specific questions that are relevant to the non-academic partner, while allowing for surprises; finding appropriate data for existing questions while uncovering new territory. Within the PEOPLE context, interviewees are not just research informants, but active participants in the research process: co-creators.
Learning-by-readingLearning style that is key to the pre-fieldwork research, involving documentation through academic and non-academic literature.
LiteracyCompetence or knowledge in people-centred approaches, shaping the research process from start to finish: from the first dialogue with the non-academic partner, to conversations with research participants, data analysis and dissemination of research findings with all key stakeholders (including the ones who might not be as literate in people-centred methodology).
MethodologyCombination of research methods and conceptual approaches used in people-centred work that allow for the co-creation of findings.
NetworkingCreation of an interdisciplinary group of people who collaborate in people-centred research and who fulfil various roles in the collaboration, from product designers to policy makers, from research participants to university staff. Within people, networking aims at establishing a partnership between higher education, research, and industry.
NumeracyAbility to understand and work with numbers, especially in the business setting. Translating qualitative findings in quantitative indicators for the non-academic collaborator, where necessary.
Open-mindednessWillingness to consider new ideas and approaches that emerge from people-centred research.
Qualitative researchExploratory research used to gain a deep understanding of people’s underlying reasons, opinions or motivations. Specifically, in PEOPLE, research that provides insights into industrial/ commercial problems and that helps to develop ideas for the improvement of a given situation.
ReflexivityCapacity to take account of the research methodology (in this case, people-centred approaches) and the effect of the presence of the researcher on what is being investigated. Additionally, in PEOPLE, thoughtful account of the relationship between stakeholders, with the aim of improving it.
ReportingA written account of something that was observed, be it within the student research project, or more widely, in the PEOPLE team. Ideally, a considerate, well-balanced view on an event or interaction – one that does not try to be objective (impossible aim), but that is nuanced and detailed.
ResearchSystematic investigation into a specific issue that is faced by a non-academic partner, with the aim of co-creating a product, service or policy. Inquiry based on curiosity and empathy, combined with rigorous and thoughtful analysis. Specifically, in PEOPLE, research involves analysing people’s needs in relation to a specific service or product, using and combining different approaches, from interviews, focus groups and participant observation to surveys and experiments.
ResourcefulnessCapacity to find the resources that answer the research question. Allowing for adaptations in the research methodology that reveal more detailed and complex understandings. Combining research methods that are complementary: interviews, participant observation, photo-elicitation, archival work, etc.
Social and cultural activity of sharing stories, which allow us to experience the similarities and differences between people, be they research participants, inventors, policy makers, academics. Rendering of stories with accuracy, understanding and context, and with unwavering devotion to people’s experiences. In PEOPLE, storytelling is the translation of research findings into texts that allow various stakeholders to understand one another; more specifically, to reveal the value of people-centred development approaches to decision makers who are not familiar with qualitative research.
SynthesisThe combination of research components that make up the research, succinctly put together to form a whole. The inference of relationships among sources, from first-hand data on people’s needs, to academic articles, books, reports, etc.
Textual analysisAn educated guess at some of the most likely interpretations that might be made of a text. Interpreting texts in order to try to understand the ways in which people make sense of the world around them. In the PEOPLE context, “texts” is broad term that includes advertisements, flyers, magazines, social media messages, graffiti, but also films, clothes etc.
Understanding global and local connections Getting to grips with the complex relationships between the international circulation of goods and services on the one hand, and the specific local needs of the people involved in the research on the other hand.
Understanding power dynamicsUnderstanding who and in what circumstances has an influence over the behaviour of people, be it (local) government or a commercial enterprise. Reversely, figuring out to which extent people themselves can exercise power and autonomy in their own lives, within the limitations of their social background.
Writing scientific papersPutting together a cohesive and possess a logically organized flow of ideas that are “thesis-driven”; that is, making sure that the starting point is a particular perspective, idea, or position applied to the chosen research problem, such as, establishing, proving, or disproving solutions to the questions posed for the topic. In the case of PEOPLE, that is a real-life issue that has to do with the design/ implementation of a service/ product. A sound understanding of the pertinent body of knowledge and academic debates that exist within the range of social science disciplines that take use a people-centred approach (anthropology, sociology, etc).

Which are the required skills and learning requirements of students and practitioners in anthropology, sociology, and related fields, relevant for the industry or business?

AmbitionA strong desire to do or successfully achieve company specific tasks and objectives. Determination to achieve overall company success and enhance the competitiveness on market.
Building internal support
(see also Working with resistance)
Facilitating the acceptance of new social science research and development approach and methods and overcoming any resistance. Managing change by combining communication and training actions with additional participatory actions (working group, propose and generate ideas, etc.) which will integrate change into practices.
Business processes analysisAnalysing whether current business processes are meeting the goals (in line with the broader context of business process management). Using business process analysis to identify the detrimental elements in an operation and identify how to overcome obstacles.
CommittmentBeing dedicated to an assignment, activity, project or a company as a whole. A willingness to give his/her time and energy to a company cause and a firm decision to accomplish respective tasks and objectives.
CommunicationAble to effectively communicate the technical and non-technical aspects of a project to key stakeholders. Being able to effectively communicate the results and added value in an understandable and concise manner to your target audience.
ConsultingProviding expert advice in a particular area such as people-centred development, qualitative and quantitative research, analysis & synthesis etc. or other fields related to applied social sciences. Helping company to improve their products and overall performance, operating primarily through the analysis of existing organizational problems and the development of plans for improvement.
Cooperating in interdisciplinary teams
(see also Cooperation and Teamwork)
Being able to collaborate and to promote collegiality among academic disciplines, fields of study, faculties, students, professions, technologies. Being able to understand different expertise and foster cooperation among different fields in a way that retains and clarifies the fundamental building blocks of a given discipline while articulating its complementarity with one or more other disciplines. Able to trace a common thread (a theme or issue) through these different viewpoints leading to valuable synergies among the disciplines and professional skills. Able to utilize the strengths of each area, leading to the optimal
creation of something more than any one area could produce alone.
(see also Cooperating in interdisciplinary teams and Teamwork)
Able to work collaboratively in and with a group of people in order to achieve common goals in different circumstances. Able to cooperate using individual skills and abilities (e.g. communication, active listening, conflict management, reliability, respectfulness etc.) and provide constructive feedback, despite any personal conflict between individuals. Being an effective member of an interdisciplinary team, adding the expertise of your discipline and working on topics broader than your major or field of expertise.
Demonstrating value and usefulness of social science research Ability to identify and understand your knowledge and skills (usefulness and applied value in certain context), identify your (internal or/and external) target audiences and their characteristics and show the applied value of your discipline and methods in proper and industry-understandable language (e.g. examples of good practices).
Project designAbility to plan out people-centred development project’s key features, structure, criteria for success, and major deliverables in early phase of the project. Ability to develop one or more people-centred designs which can be used to achieve the desired project goals. Informing stakeholders which can then choose the best design to use for the actual execution of the project.
EconomicsUsing economic theory and quantitative methods to analyse business enterprises and the factors contributing to the diversity of organizational structures and the relationships of firms with labour, capital and product markets.
Elevator pitchesIntroducing your idea or project quickly and compellingly. Preparing and delivering brief, interesting, memorable, persuasive speech that you use to spark interest in your project/product/company. A good elevator pitch should last no longer than a short elevator ride of 20 to 30 seconds.
EntrepreneurialAbility to find and act upon opportunities to translate people-centred inventions or technology into new products. Able to recognize the commercial potential of the invention and organize the time, talent, and other resources (capital) that turn an invention into a commercially viable innovation. In this context, the term also captures innovative activities on the part of established firms, in addition to similar activities on the part of new businesses.
Extracting key points from complex researchAbility to consider and present the key essential points, rather than the details of a subject. Seeing the map and stay focused on larger principles. Essential to big-picture decision making.
FinancesBasic understanding of finance and investments. It includes the dynamics of assets and liabilities over time under conditions of different degrees of uncertainties and risks.
FlexibilityThe willingness and ability to readily respond to changing circumstances and expectations. The capacity to adjust to short-term change quickly and calmly, so that you can deal with unexpected problems or tasks effectively.
Handling power relationsAbility to scan and identify distribution of power and authority in an organization together with individual interests and particular motives.
InnovativenessAbility to experiment and find new ways to do things. Ability to turn “wild” thinking into real world ideas and products. Highly curious. Adventurous spirit willing to take bold action. Willing to pursue unproven yet high potential ideas. Always looking for ways to improve and change.
LeadershipAbility to lead a group of people or an organization. Setting direction, building an inspiring vision, and creating something new. Using management skills to guide the team of people towards objectives. Leadership incorporates also other skills, such as communication, motivation, delegating, conflict management, flexibility etc.
MarketingAbility to effectively manage exchange relationships. Creating, communicating, delivering, keeping and satisfying the customer(s). Marketing incorporates also other skills such as communication, public speaking, analytical thinking / financial analysis, creativity, negotiation, pitching etc.
Organisational culture awarenessAbility to understand for an organisation’s system of shared assumptions, values, and beliefs. Ability to provide insights and support for managing organisational culture and creating guidelines for a productive, creative working environment, or bringing about desirable changes.
Plain languageAbility to express complex ideas, research findings, and analyses in an understandable language. Ability to transcend disciplinary boundaries, substituting or explaining scientific or professional concepts in plain language, ensuring common understanding between the diverse employee profiles.
Pragmatic attitudeAbility to think, plan, and act in a pragmatic, practical way, relying and focusing on factual information and searching for solutions that are achievable, reachable. Ability to find projects or work processes that can be effectively applied.
Presenting solutionsAbility to identify and present potential solutions in complex contexts. Incorporating large sets of data, research result, information, company networks, etc. into clear solutions.
PrioritisingAbility to independently break down large workloads within the project or research into attainable tasks and setting up a priority list for these smaller tasks. Comprehending which of the manageable smaller tasks are key to successfully achieving the larger task or the overarching goal, and which are less relevant, or even irrelevant. Also includes time-management skills: setting clear goals and begin with the prioritisation process early on.
Problem solvingAbility to identify the problem, find relevant information, identify a set of possible solutions using analytic (evaluation, selection, comparison etc.) and creative (imaginative, out-of-the-box) thinking to identify possible solutions to the identified problem. Ability to provide an implementation plan and test the solution.
Project management
(see also Leadership, Communication, Prioritising)
Ability to plan, execute and close projects. This skill incorporates a number of skills, such as leadership (successfully guide the team), communication (articulating tasks, goals etc. to a common understanding), efficient scheduling (setting up a realistic and attainable timeline), quality control, risk management, cost management, and others.
Quickly adaptingAs constant, fast, or unexpected change, as well as failure, is common to innovation, business and industry environments, the ability to adapt to change quickly is essential. This may mean taking a drastically new course within the ongoing research, reorienting the project goals, or abandoning certain tasks completely.
Representing companyA social science researcher working in industry should be able to represent the company independently, professionally, and confidently. This requires a certain level of competence in the work area of the company, even if it is outside of their primary scientific field.
Stakeholder analysisIdentifying and assessing the influence and importance of key people, groups of people, or organisations that may significantly impact the success of activity or project. Effectively eliciting stakeholders’ views on their relationship with the company/programme/project to enhance stakeholders’ engagement.
Staying inspired and motivatedAbility to keep the tenacity despite potential (and frequent) failure, abrupt change, time pressures, relatively shorter timeframes for conducting research in comparison to academia, the need for presenting clear solutions instead of complex qualitative data analyses, etc.
StorytellingStorytelling is a technique that wraps the company’s brand, values, and vision and is essential for brand-building and a successful marketing strategy. The ability to convey the company’s purpose in a clear and captivating way by simplifying the complex information of the company’s goals, of a certain project, product or service.
SupportAbility to offer support to project or development teams by clearly communicating research results and insights, as well as by identifying potential research or design approaches in order to find the best solutions.
(see also Cooperating in interdisciplinary teams and Cooperation)
Ability to work as part of an interdisciplinary team. A willingness to cooperate, contribute with individual competencies and knowledge, orientation to constructive feedback. Also includes the ability to complete given tasks on time, delegate tasks, the ability to listen and value the diversity of opinions, methods, knowledge.
Translating between theory and practiceAbility to present theoretical insights in a way that has the potential to inform, plan, or execute practical tasks, project activities. Crucial for devising communication, dissemination, or marketing strategies, orienting research and the development process.
Translating research results into policy and practiceAbility to transform often complex research results and findings into clear, understandable, people-friendly recommendations, policy guidelines. Involves an understanding of policy-making.
Understanding business and business languageThe social scientist possesses, or is willing, to learn the basic business and general economics vocabulary, as well as the particular vocabulary of the company he or she is working for.
Understanding clients' needsThe ability to plan, conduct, and analyse research of clients’ needs and expectations, as well as to translate those needs into the product or service development and design process. Ability to use the analysis of clients’ needs to inform company brand building and marketing strategy.
Understanding industry environment
(see also Representing company)
Having a level of competence in the work area of the company and the specific industry environment, even if it is outside of the scope of their primary scientific/study field.
Working under time restraintsWillingness and ability to deliver tasks within set deadlines. Ability to adapt the research process, improvise with research or design techniques, and adapt research methods to the given time restraints. Ability to provide some relevant insights or research-informed development recommendations regardless of the time restraints.
Working with resistance
(see also Building internal support)
Being able to and having patience to often communicate the value of social science research, validity of qualitative data and relevance of research analyses to company management or development team, even when there is resistance. Not trying to convince people, but instead identify what are their needs and offer a compelling new perspective, or identify those team members that are already open to new ideas and perspectives to gain support.
Writing style adapted to industry
(see also Plain language)
Ability to express complex ideas, research findings, and analyses in an understandable language, adapted writing style (short, concise, bullet points, straight-to-the-point, clear arguments, supported by facts). Ability to explain scientific or professional concepts or research findings in plain language, ensuring common understanding between the diverse employee or development team profiles.



One of the methods we used within our task of identifying skills shortages and learning requirements from industry and society perspective, was JOB ANALYSIS. Among the results of an extensive online research of publicly available data, is an analysis of job descriptions along with required knowledge and skills, as well as a Database of Applied Anthropologists in Europe, with their title or position and the employing organisation. This provided us with valuable inputs to the above listed required skills for applied social scientists working in business or industry, as well as a valuable overview of existing current job opportunities for anthropologists and social scientists outside academia. Due to the General Data Protection Regulation, the result is of internal nature.


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