The 2014 Winter School in Methods and Techniques (WSMT) was the third to be held at the University of Vienna and the largest to date, with 354 participants coming together from across the globe for two weeks of intensive training.
The year on year growth of this event show both the continued demand for methods training and the ability of the ECPR’s Methods School (which includes the Summer School also) to meet this. The 2014 WSMT provided 29 courses in both introductory and advanced subjects, alongside software classes. Most popular introductory course was ‘Comparative Research Designs’ run by WSMT Academic Convenor, Benoît Rihoux and most popular advanced, ‘Panel Data Analysis’ run by Henning Lohmann.
With students travelling from across the world to attend the WSMT, the social side of the School is vital in ensuring participants have both an enjoyable and fruitful experience, and is key to helping to develop crucial networks that will support future political scientists throughout their careers. The social events were a huge success, with a combination of free and paid for events on offer; the most popular was the evening at the famous Café Sperle, which exceeded the estimated attendance by three times! Following on from their success at the 2013 Summer School, a series of brown bag sessions were run for the first time in Vienna this year. Proving so popular that an additional one was added just before the event, these sessions covered the subjects ‘Are we all bound to become Bayesians? The Bayesian perspective in quantitative and qualitative research’ and, most pertinently to the assembled audience, ‘How to publish and not perish during a PhD. research?’.
Participants were also given the opportunity to attend a series of ‘taster sessions’ of other courses on offer, giving them an insight into the subject matter and possibly sparking an interest in a new field for a future ECPR event. ‘Knowing and the Known: The Philosophy and Methodology of the Social Sciences’ taught by Patrick T. Jackson was particularly popular; 23 people pre-registered, but in the end the room was crammed with over 100 people.