Research at the Institute is governed by the disciplines of Islamic Studies, Modern Oriental Philology and Middle Eastern Studies. It is carried out at the dissertation and habilitation project levels and in other research projects that have no direct link to an academic qualification. An important support is third-party funded (mainly by the SNSF) projects. While research within the framework of licentiate and master's degrees refers to the entire scope of the disciplines, within these three subject areas the following main research topics of the Institute are emphasised:
This research, which also includes non-Islamic traditions, refers to the totality of Islamic ecumenism and is shaped by historical, cultural and social sciences, anthropology, ideological history and literary science. Their common denominator is the empirical reference to the Arabic, Persian or Turkish languages of the ancient Islamic world. Research into the modern and contemporary often takes into account other languages in which Islam is expressed (especially English, French and Russian).