ECPR Summer School
Central European University, Budapest
27 July - 12 August 2017




ECPR Methods School: 'follow the training tracks'

By the Academic Convenors: Derek Beach, Levi Littvay and Benoît Rihoux

What are training tracks?

The ECPR Methods School is designed to offer a broad variety of courses that cater for the needs of researchers in political science and other neighbouring social scientific disciplines. These courses can either be followed on a stand-alone basis or in a sequence that constitutes a ‘training track’ over one or more ECPR Methods School (Winter School in March and Summer School in July/August).

The ECPR Methods School offers six different types of courses across the two Schools (the more popular courses are offered both at the Winter and Summer Schools):

  1. Preparatory short course: a course that offers a quick introduction or ‘refresher’ to tools that will be useful for further courses. Typically: software training, before taking a data analysis course. (Winter School: 7.5 hours over two days)
  2. Intensive Refresher course: the same focus as a Preparatory short course, but longer and more intensive. (Summer School: 18 hours over three days)
  3. Research design/fundamentals course: an ‘upstream’ course enabling you to think about your research more broadly, so you can make more informed choices about specific methods/techniques. (Winter School: 15 hours over five days; Summer School: 15 hours over five days or 30 hours over 10 days)
  4. Data collection/generation course: a hands-on course focused on a specific method (or family of methods) for data collection or generation (Winter School: 15 hours over five days; Summer School: 15 hours over five days or 30 hours over 10 days)
  5. Data analysis course (introductory): a hands-on course focused on a specific method (or family of methods) for data analysis, bringing you to a level of well-informed use (Winter School: 15 hours over five days; Summer School: 15 hours over five days or 30 hours over 10 days)
  6. Data analysis course (advanced): a hands-on course focused on a specific method (or family of methods) for data analysis, bringing you to an expert level, including more recent refinements (Winter School: 15 hours over five days; Summer School: 15 hours over five days or 30 hours over 10 days)

At the Winter School you can take up to two courses: one two-day 7.5 hour Preparatory short course and one five-day 15 hour course.

At the Summer School you can take up to three courses through the following formats:

  • Two courses: one three-day 18 hour intensive Refresher course + either a week one or week two, five-day 15 hour course
  • Two courses: one three-day 18 hour intensive Refresher course + one 10-day 30 hour course
  • Three courses: one three-day 18 hour intensive Refresher course + one five-day 15 hour course in week one + one five-day 15 hour course in week two.

Considering the options above and the number of courses offered within each course type and within each single event, there are many options for study across single or multiple events. Over two consecutive Schools, it is possible to attend up to five courses. It is also possible for you to construct your own training track across non-successive events.

With so many options available it can be difficult to know where to start planning your training at the ECPR Methods School, but the tips below might help!!

 

How to think about the most useful training track for you? Practical tips and notes of caution

There are many options for you to choose to suit your project(s), so we have provide some guidelines for you to consider:

  • There are an endless number of course sequences available, depending on how courses fit with each other, your prior research skills, and the specific needs for your project.
  • There are multiple views of what ‘good’ or ‘appropriate’ methods are in the social sciences.
  • There is also a debate on the terms used (‘methodology’, ‘approach’, ‘method’, ‘technique’, ‘data’, etc.).
  • There is also a debate on the labels used to name different approaches (‘quantitative’ v/s ‘qualitative’ or ‘variable-oriented’ v/s ‘case-oriented’? ‘mixed’ or ‘multi-method’ designs? Etc.).
  • There is also a debate on the extent to which different phases of a research process can be considered separately. For instance: many ‘qualitative’ or ‘interpretivist’ researchers will contend that research design, data generation and data analysis are fully intertwined.
  • Quite a number of courses do not fully ‘fit’ within one of the six categories  above, i.e. they have a broader focus or cover different stages of the research process (for instance: (1) ‘Quantitative text analysis’ is mostly a data analysis course, but it also covers some data collection/preparation aspects; (2) ‘Comparative research designs’ is mostly a research design course, but it also covers some data collection aspects as well as some (comparative) data analysis aspects; (3) ‘Advanced multi-method research’ is a research design course that also comprises some elements of data collection and data analysis; Etc.).
  • Some courses are typically useful to attend before a given course (i.e. 'upstream' in the sequence) or after a given course (i.e. “downstream” in the sequence).
  • Not all courses are offered every year. Some more specialised courses or courses on emerging topics are offered every two years.
  • It is acceptable to attend only one course at the Methods School, depending on your specific needs. Training tracks simply constitute a range of additional possibilities.

If you have already identified a course you want to attend but are unsure which course(s) you should choose next, you might find some hints in the detailed course outlines, in particular the ‘prerequisite knowledge’ section. You can also contact the Instructors for advice about the right training track to suit your needs.

 

Here are some examples of typical training tracks

The examples below are based on the courses offered at the Summer School 2014 and Winter School 2015. The course list for Summer School 2015 has yet to be finalised but it is likely the courses offered at the Summer School 2015 will be similar to the Summer School 2014.

 

Winter School

 Preparatory Short course  Research design /fundamentals course
 Introduction to R  Causal Inference for Political and Social Sciences
 Preparatory Short course  Data collection/generation course
 Introduction to NVivo  Field Research
 Preparatory Short course  Data analysis course (introductory or advanced)
 Introduction to R  Quantitative Text Analysis

 

Summer School

 Intensive Refresher course  Research design /fundamentals course
 Basics of Inferential Statistics for Political Scientists   Research Designs
 Intensive Refresher course  Data analysis course (introductory 2-week)
 Basics of Inferential Statistics for Political Scientists   Multivariate Statistical Analysis and Comparative Crossnational Surveys Data
 Research design/fundamentals course (week 1)    Data analysis course (introductory week 2) 
 Process Tracing Methodology I – Foundations and Design  Qualitative Data Analysis: Methods and Procedures
 Data collection/generation course (week 1)  Data analysis course (introductory  week 2)
 Focus Groups – From Qualitative Data Generation to Analysis  Content Analysis
 Data analysis course (introductory or advanced, week 1)  Data analysis course (introductory week 2)
 Multiple Regression Analysis: Estimation, Diagnostics and Modelling  Advanced Topics in Applied Regression II: Operationalisation, Measurement, Weighting and Non-Response Correction

 

 Intensive Refresher course   Data analysis course (introductory or advanced, week 1)  Data analysis course (introductory or advanced, week 2)
 Linear Algebra and Calculus  Applied Multilevel Modelling: Multilevel Linear Models for Continuous Data  Introduction to Generalized Linear Modelling

 

Across two Schools (up to five courses)

Two courses at the Winter School + two courses at the Summer School

 Preparatory short course  Data collection/ generation course  Research design/fundamentals course (week 1)  Data analysis Course (introductory, week 2)
 Introduction to NVivo  Interpretative interviewing  Strategies of Interpretive/ Qualitative Political Research  Analysing Discourse II – Analysing Politics: Theories, Methods and Applications
 Preparatory short course  Data collection/ generation course  Data collection/ generation course (week 1)  Data analysis Course (introductory, week 2)
 Introduction to NVivo  Field Research  Issues in Political, Policy, and Organizational Ethnography  Analysing Discourse II – Analysing Politics: Theories, Methods and Applications
 Preparatory short course  Data collection/ generation course  Data analysis course (introductory or advanced, week 1)  Data analysis course (introductory or advanced, week 2)
 Introduction to R  Survey design  Multiple Regression Analysis: Estimation, Diagnostics and Modelling  Advanced Topics in Applied Regression II: Operationalisa-tion, Measurement, Weighting and Non-Response Correction

 Two courses at the Winter School + one two week course at the Summer School

 Preparatory short course  Data collection/ generation course  Data analysis course (2-week)
 Introduction to R  Survey design  Multivariate Statistical Analysis and Comparative Crossnational Surveys Data
 Preparatory short course  Research design/fundamentals course  Data analysis course (2-week)
 Introduction to STATA  Causal Inference for Political and Social Sciences  Multiple Regression Analysis and Generalised Linear Modelling

Two courses at the Summer School + two courses at the Winter School

 Data collection/generation course (wk 1)  Data analysis course (introductory, wk 2)  Preparatory short course  Data analysis course (introductory/advanced)
 Expert Interviews for Qualitative Data Generation  Content Analysis  Introduction to NVivo  Advanced Qualitative Data Analysis
 Data analysis course (introductory/advanced, wk 1)  Data analysis course (introductory/advanced, wk 2)  Preparatory short course  Data analysis course (advanced)
 Multiple Regression Analysis: Estimation, Diagnostics & Modelling  Advanced Topics in Applied Regression II: Operationalisa-tion, Measurement, Weighting and Non-Response Correction  Combining data from different sources: different techniques, different worlds  Multilevel Regression Modelling

 

Across three Schools (up to 8 courses)

There are multiple ways to sequence your participation across three or more Schools.  Whilst this would typically be across three consecutive venues it is also possible to attend non-consecutive Schools, as illustrated below:

  • Winter School ⇒ Summer School ⇒ Winter School (up to 7 courses)
  • Summer School ⇒ Winter School ⇒ Summer School (up to 8 courses)

If you have any doubts or need assistance creating your training track, we suggest you contact the respective instructors, as well as the Methods School Academic Convenors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"To govern is to choose" - Duc de Lévis


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