After two weeks of intensive course work, assingments and discusssions the IPSA summer school has come to an end today.
I took the course comparative case study methodology taught by Derek Beach from the University of Aarhus in Denmark.
The course was great designed in a way that the participants had to apply the taught prinicples and methods straight away on their own research projects. This way the course really got you thinking about your own project from the beginning.
Actually as a result of teh course I have changed my research design from a pure case study design to a mixed method design including a QCA followed by 2-3 in-depth case studies investigating causal mechanisms through process tracing.
The more hands-on methodological trainnig was embedded in many discussions about the philosophy of science and how we make claims in the social sciences based on what kind of empirical material.
The neo-positivist but qualitative approach that was brought forward during the lectures is based upon a deterministic understanding of causality that is paired with bayesian arguing based on contextualizing and critically engaging wioth ones own evidence.
I have found the thoughts extremely interesting and refreshingly systematized and transparent for qualitative method standards. I aim to apply some of these concepts in my dissertatiuon and forthcoming works to undermine the methodlogical strength of my works.
In march Derek will also give a two day workshop on process tracing in Berlin that I am already looking forward too.
On top of all the input it was also a great opportunity to engage with PhD and graduate students from all over the world in a nice environment at teh University of Sao Paolo.
It seems intensive workshops are even possible despite regular samba, sun and caipirnhas.
All in all it was it was a great two weeks and I would recommend teh course (which is also taught at teh ECPR summer schools) and the summer school in Sao Paolo to any methodologically interested graduate student.
is a researcher and PhD student in political science, freelance journalist and photographer interested in Democracy, Transition, Authoritarianism and Security especially in the MIddle East and North Africa.