Students of Master’s Programme 'Comparative Politics of Eurasia' to Participate in Online Methods Winter School by ECPR
In March, master’s students Daria Bobarykina and Mackenzie Tubridy will take part in the Virtual Winter School hosted by the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR). Founded in 1970, ECPR is a UK-based academic association geared towards the promotion and development of political science research. Among other things, ECPR serves as a forum for research and professional networking, issues grants and provides funding opportunities to scholars, steers publishing programmes, as well as delivers methodological training to graduate students and early-career researchers. The Higher School of Economics is one of the more than 300 member institutions from the association, and it was thanks to support from HSE that the students from the university’s Saint-Petersburg campus were able to enrol in the Virtual Winter School.
As one of ECPR’s regularly occurring events, the two-week Virtual Winter School offers cutting-edge qualitative and quantitative methodological training delivered by world experts. Courses included in the program cover topics from social network analysis, big data collection, and machine learning, to process tracing, ethnographic field research, and comparative historical analysis. The two students shared their thoughts about their motivations and expectations for attending the methods school.
Daria Bobarykina, student of the programme 'Comparative Politics of Eurasia':
Having chosen the Master's programme in Comparative Politics of Eurasia, I was attracted to the advanced methods track for several reasons. First of all, I had already worked with quantitative methods during my undergraduate studies, so I felt that I want to continue along this path and that I need to learn more about particular methods of research. Furthermore, this track can serve as a strong basis for pursuing a PhD degree, as well as a future academic career. As the programme’s administration, as well as our faculty as a whole, tries to provide an individual approach to every student, taking into the account their preferences, Dr Korneev offered this great opportunity to attend the Virtual Winter School. Not only did he draw my attention to the event, but he also helped with enrollment funding. In the framework of the Winter School, I chose to take Introduction to Inferential Statistics course. It seemed interesting and useful for me as I have already taken a course in descriptive statistics, and so this will help to deepen my existing knowledge about statistics. Moreover, this is important for my research, which has been based on surveys and discourse analysis, both strongly reliant upon statistics. In this course, I hope to interact with people who are also interested in related research topics and get some inspiration and ideas for my future career.
Mackenzie Tubridy, student of the programme 'Comparative Politics of Eurasia':
From the very beginning of the programme 'Comparative Politics of Eurasia', I made it clear that I want to really develop my knowledge and understanding of research methods. As someone who plans to pursue a PhD later on, getting as much methods training as possible is essential. Thankfully, the programme’s academic supervisor, Professor Oleg Korneev, has been great about hearing students out and learning what goals and interests we have. He was the one who drew my attention to the Virtual Winter School. Since I am trying to focus on studying quantitative methods within the Master’s programme, for the Virtual Winter School I decided to enrol in a qualitative methods course called Working with Concepts. The course is taught by Frederic Schaffer, a Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. This course piqued my interest because concepts are the basic building blocks of political science – really, of all sciences. You cannot take any surveys, run any statistics, or plot any regression lines until you have settled on your concepts. Obviously, I say this without even having taken the course yet, but I do understand that concepts are the foundation of everything! And since I want to work on developing a solid foundation as a researcher, I think enrolling in a course which really zeroes in on the essence of concepts and concept-making is definitely worthwhile. As far as my expectations are concerned: I hope that the course is demanding. I am someone that likes to be pushed and challenged, and so ideally the course will do just that. I also hope to meet and talk with other participants of the methods school who are just as eager as I am to improve themselves as social science researchers. That would really motivate me in my own intellectual journey.