RC 21




Conference on Methods in Political Science: A Rainbow of Challenges.

University of Antwerp, Belgium, September 17-18, 2015.

IPSA decided to organize two small conferences in the near future, the first one on research methods in political science (2015) and the second one on teaching political science (2016 or 2017). The example is the 2008 Montreal Conference.

The conference Methods in Political Science: A Rainbow of Challenges aims at drawing attention to the variety and richness of the methods used in all kind of domains in political science. The 50 Research Committees of IPSA testify of this big diversity. Within one Research Committee, most often a series of different methods are used by the members of the Committee, regardless of the subject or the research domain, traditional methods and new ones. One can observe this at every IPSA World Congress, again in Montreal. Methods used in the papers and presentations stem from different methodological traditions and paradigms.

The conference wants to highlight this diversity, encouraging papers that discuss in particular new methodologies, or challenges involved in combining different methods and methodologies together.

Is there ‘one logic’ of inquiry, or are there two or more ‘cultures’? If there are differing logics, how can we combine different methods (e.g. regression-based analysis and in-depth case studies) that operate with different ontological and epistemological positions? Are there some methods that are more compatible with each other than others (e.g. QCA and case studies)? And is the process of concept formation and measurement the same across different methodologies?

The conference seeks papers that both explore the broader methodological challenges facing the discipline, and also more practical papers that

  • exemplify methodological challenges using practical empirical examples
  • present broader philosophical debates on methodological compatibilities and issues of commensurability
  • deal with issues of concept formation and measurement, especially in light of challenges across different methods and methodologies for studying the same concept
  • explore the compatibilities of different methods from a more practical side, in particular the links between large-n, variance-based methods or medium/small-n, qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) and case studies or more interpretive methods

Program Chairs:

  1. Prof. Derek Beach, Aarhus University, Denmark (RC01, co-convenor of the ECPR Methods Schools, instructor at the IPSA - USB Summer School in Sao Paulo, Brazil) (e-mail: derek@ps.au.dk)
  2. Prof. Christ’l De Landtsheer, University of Antwerp (RC21, IPSA RC Liaison Representative) (e-mail: christl.delandtsheer@uantwerpen.be).

Supporting organizations are the IPSA RC’s RC01 (Concepts and methods), RC29 (Psycho-politics), RC06 (Political Sociology), RC21 (Political Socialization and Education), and RC22 (Political Communication), as well as the two Belgian political science associations Association belge francophone de science politique (ABSP), and the Vereniging voor Politieke Wetenschappen (VPW).

University of Antwerp, Faculty of Political and Social Sciences.
Antwerp is a big modern international city with a port, and very good connections, but it is also a beautiful European medieval town. The conference venue is the Faculty Building which is located in the center of town.

Dates: September 17-18, 2015 (two days).

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Content: Christ'l De Landtsheer
: Ganna Diedkova
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