The current research concerns at CSD focus on non-conventional energy and rural livelihood systems, labour markets and social security, poverty and unemployment, urban area studies, intellectual property rights as a development issue [particularly with reference to geographical indications in AP]; environmental economics [with a focus on the mining sector in different states and social impact assessment]; political participation and the shifting domains of dominance and citizen engagement; user associations, forest rights, and displacement]; micro-analyses of economic livelihood support to rural poor communities [focusing on the effectiveness and implications of such support in different sectors – fisheries; watersheds, horticulture, tribal development, village industries, etc. as well as programmes like the NREGA]; agrarian studies [land ownership and use patterns, the range of safety nets to cushion poor agricultural communities from vulnerability and risk]; social conflict, education, gender studies [as a cross cutting lens across all the disciplines and fields CSD works in]; interdisciplinary law.

The focus of research in CSD Hyderabad is on Diversity, Pluralism and Social Development. The institute will engage in a comprehensive mapping of diversity in the Indian context and the relationship between diversity and development. Apart from looking at the social histories of specific communities/classes, this programme will engage in research on the shifting domains of dominance and equity and questions of inclusion and exclusion. In the main, this programme will focus on dalit studies, adivasi studies, disability studies, labour studies, gender studies, minority studies, migration studies, the study of artisanal communities and such like. In environment, economic history, agrarian history, urban history and socio-ecological histories will provide direction.