Research is to be carried out into the operation of former mother and baby homes and Magdalene laundries in NI.
The research will be carried out by academics from Queen's University and Ulster University and is expected to take 12 months.
It will cover the period 1922 to 1999.
The announcement follows a decision by the former NI executive to look at institutions not looked at in the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry.
The Department of Health has commissioned the research.
It will speak to those with direct experience of the various institutions and also examine government and institutional records.
Norah Gibbons, the chair of an inter-departmental working group established by the former executive, welcomed the news.
"It is essential that we develop a strong evidence base about the operation of these institutions in the last century," she said.
Patrick Corrigan, from Amnesty International in Northern Ireland, said that the group would be "concerned" if the research was an alternative to an investigation.
"Norah Gibbons and the working group need to meet with victims from these institutions so that they can directly hear and heed their calls," he said.