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This is the online presence of the research project "The Internet as a Partner Market". As of January 1st 2012, the project has been receiving funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG). The research is being carried out by Doreen Zillmann and Andreas Schmitz at the Chair of Sociology I, University of Bamberg. The director of the project is Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Blossfeld. This project builds on its predecessor, "Processes of Mate Choice in Online-Dating", which was funded by the DFG from 2007 to 2010.

Project Overview

The project’s objective is to analyze the early phases of mate choice using data from online dating. Most research on mate choice examines marriages, or non-marital relationships, looking only at the result of the process of selecting a partner.  Findings on the social mechanisms at work in the early phases of mate selection are, however, of genuine significance for a better understanding of how couples develop. Nevertheless, there has been scarcely any empirical work analyzing the actual process of mate choice itself, starting with establishing contacts, through the development of the first interactions, leading to the increasing consolidation of a social relationship. This project intends to focus particular attention on the conditions under which (and the preconceptions with which) men and women enter into a partner market when looking for a mate, their strategies for self-portrayal and contacting others, the contact relationships which develop, and finally the combinations of these elements which lead to couples forming. To answer these questions, the project has access to an extensive and methodologically innovative dataset from the sphere of online dating. The dataset contains process-created data concerning the search for a partner online, consisting of anonymized profile and interaction data as well as additional information collected as part of an online panel survey on a large German online dating portal.


 News regarding the project are located here.