Quantitative Methods in the
Social Sciences 2




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Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences 2, 2008 - 2012


Scientific objectives

The Research Network QMSS 2 aimed to develop strong inter-disciplinary and international networks around quantitative methods in the social sciences. This has been achieved by running seminars and training summer schools that have increased the capacity of European social scientists in quantitative methods related to areas of substantive and policy importance. The network programme focused on five areas of critical importance in quantitative methods:

• Social interactions and social networks
• Lifecourse analysis
• Cross-national comparisons
• Immigration and population dynamics
• Survey design and survey quality

A team of experts from participating countries was responsible for running seminars and summer schools under each theme.

Scientific Quality and Impact

The seminars brought together international specialists from different disciplines to identify and debate cutting-edge methods for each theme. Seminars (20 in total) were held annually over 2-3 days and were also important in nurturing junior researchers, promoting cross-European collaboration and developing the topics to be taught in summer schools. A total of 523 people have attended seminars - either as speakers, discussants or delegates.

The summer schools were designed to disseminate cutting edge methods to junior social scientists across the participating countries. The summer schools combined lectures with hands-on analysis and were held at venues around Europe that were able to offer the necessary facilities for lab-based work. Ten summer schools, each running over 8 days, have been held during the programme. Because they were heavily over-subscribed most accepted more than the target number of 25 students so that, in total, 300 students participated in the 10 summer schools.

A programme of short visits between researchers to allow work on a joint paper or a research project has been very productive with most resulting in conference or journal papers or grant applications. The maximum cost of a visit was fixed at 1,000 Euros. A total of 12 visits took place during the programme.

The QMSS 2 Programme has had high visibility across Europe with all events being greatly over-subscribed and with good representation across the nineteen participating countries and a fairly even gender balance. The expenditure under QMSS 2 has been in accordance with the original proposal - to hold 20 seminars and 10 summer schools. It has also covered four meetings of the Steering Committee and 16 short-visits.

The QMSS 2 programme has identified a number of urgent areas where methodological developments are taking place and which need to be made accessible to new generations of junior researchers in Europe. These are discussed in the October 2012 Newsletter.