Birgit Röder's research is focused primarily (though not exclusively) on German Romanticism. Her PhD thesis was entitled 'Artists, Lovers and Madmen. The Representation of Art and the Artist in E.T.A. Hoffmann's Künstlernovellen' and was subsequently expanded for publication as A Study of the Major Novellas of E.T.A. Hoffmann (Camden House, 2003). This study considers the representation of artist-figures in the following novellas: Das Fräulein von Scuderi, Der Sandmann, Die Jesuiterkirche in G., Die Fermate, Der Artushof, Don Juan, Das Sanctus and Rat Krespel. She is also fascinated by the reception of Hoffmann's work in contemporary German writing and this interest is reflected in an article on Peter Härtling's novel Hoffmann oder die vielfältige Liebe (2001). This article considers the presentation of Hoffmann's wife in Härtling's novel in the context of contemporary theories of gender.
As a result of her long-standing engagement with Persian and Isalmic culture – together with her knowledge of written and spoken Farsi (Persian) – a large part of her research has been devoted to representations of the Orient in German culture around 1800. E.T.A. Hoffmann's contrasting views of the Orient in Das Sanctus, Die Automate, and Das steinerne Herz, is the subject of her article ‘“Fort in die Welt! — nach Konstantinopel!”: Das Orientbild im literarischen Werk E. T. A. Hoffmanns’, German Life and Letters, 64 (2011), 501-20. She is currently investigating questions of constructions of gender and orientalism in women writers of the Romantic era.
She has been responsible for compiling the section 'Germany: The Romantic Era' in the annual survey of research, The Year's Work in Modern Languages, and has contributed a number of reviews of works of secondary literature to Modern Language Review.