Ostforschung (German: Research of the East) in general describes since the 18th century any German research of areas to the East of Germany. Since the 1990s, the Ostforschung itself is a subject of historic research, while the names of institutes etc. were changed to more specific ones. The term Ostforschung itself remained in use in some journals and names of institutes throughout the Cold War, but was replaced by more specific terms by the 1990s. For example, the journal „Zeitschrift für Ostforschung“, established in 1952, was renamed „Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung“ in 1994.. Traditional Ostforschung has been discredited by modern German historians. Ostforschung studies often reflected Western European prejudices of the time towards Poles.
Ostforschung was also the name of a multi-disciplined organization set up before World War II by Nazi German chief propagandist Albert Brackmann supporting Nazi genocidal policies, ethnic cleansing and anti-semitism. Brackmann and several other Nazi and nationalist historians and anthropologists co-ordinated Nazi German research on Eastern Europe, mainly the Second Polish Republic. The research conducted by this organisation, as well as the Ahnenerbe, was instrumental in planning of ethnic cleansing and genocide of local non-German populations in Generalplan Ost.
- Karin Friedrich (2006), The Other Prussia: Royal Prussia, Poland and Liberty, 1569-1772. Cambridge University Press, page 5, page 13 
- Burleigh, Michael. Germany Turns Eastwards: A Study of Ostforschung in the Third Reich.
- Auf den Spuren der Ostforschung; Eine Sammlung von Beiträgen der Arbeitsgemeinschaft zur Bekämpfung der westdeutschen "Ostforschung" beim Institut für Geschichte der europäischen Volksdemokratien, Leipzig 1962