PhD mini courses

Social Psychology at a Policy School  

Social Psychology is the science of how group and individual behavior is influenced by the presence and behavior of others. In this PhD Mini Course, we will critically discuss what role social psychology can and should play in policy debates in the first session. Then we will discuss, very practically, how PhD students (in psychology, political science, sociology, economics etc.) working on topics that concern human behavior can add a social psychological perspective to their research. The second part will happen through three deep dives on social psychological topics identified by attending graduate students as relevant for their dissertation topics. 

Instructor: Prof. Ruth Ditlmann

Qualitative Research Methods in International Politics

This is a course about how to evaluate and conduct rigorous, epistemologically plural qualitative research in international politics. It will both introduce you to key concepts and methods – cause and case studies, positionality and ethnography – and show how they work in practice. Seminar sessions will be divided in two – a conceptual introduction and overview that is then followed by examples drawn from key topics and sub-fields relevant to the students. The seminar will be strongly discussion-based with active participation expected from the students.   

Instructor: Prof. Shubha Prasad 

Qualitative Data Analysis – Interpretive Coding Workshop

In this hands-on workshop, we will practice qualitative coding using an inductive and interpretive methodology, mostly based on a grounded theoretic approach. After a brief introduction to the methodology, we will code in class with the help of a qualitative analysis software and using students’ data. The first session will cover first-order or manifest coding, the students will then have to do coding by themselves before the second session.The second session will focus on second order or latent coding and theory building.  

*We strongly encourage researchers to first attend “Qualitative Fieldwork” mini course, taught by Prof. Christine Reh, to optimise exposure to different qualitative methodologies and methods training. 

Instructor: Prof. Sébastien Mena 

Qualitative Fieldwork

The course is designed to support PhD researchers in preparing upcoming qualitative fieldwork. The following topics will be discussed: 1) fieldwork organisation 2) qualitative interviews 3) one additional qualitative method, depending on PhD researchers’ interests and needs. The instructor could offer case selection, qualitative comparison, or process tracing.

Instructor: Prof. Dr. Christine Reh

Causal Policy Evaluations: Regression Discontinuity Designs

*Can be taken jointly with Prof. Dr. Mujaheed Shaikh’s seminar.

This course first discusses problems with causality and correlations in observational data and introduces the value of experiments for causal impact evaluations. It will then focus on regression discontinuity designs (RDDs) and their interpretation as local quasi-experiment and examine the conditions for the validity of RDDs and discuss different ways of implementing RD strategies (parametric, non-parametric). Finally, many applications that illustrate the practical problems with these methods will be considered.

Instructor: Prof. Dr. Christian Traxler

Causal Policy Evaluations: Difference in Differences

*Can be taken jointly with Prof. Dr. Christian Traxler’s seminar.

This course focuses on one of the most prominent quasi-experiments methods in social sciences: Difference in Differences (DiD). Starting from Rubin's potential outcomes framework, it will discuss the classical DiD setting. Covering numerous applications, extensions with staggered policy reforms, triple difference, matching approaches and event study designs will be considered. Finally,  recent advances on heterogeneous treatment effects will be considered.

Instructor: Prof. Dr. Mujaheed Shaikh