Winter/summer school

Interpretive Political Science Winter School

20-22 May 2019, Southampton

Many students in the social sciences, especially in political science, public policy and public administration who decide to undertake qualitative or interpretive research feel they are unqualified to do so. They express deep-seated confusion about the reliability and generalizability of data, results, and conclusions. In particular they feel that interpretive approaches lack the type of specialised training that has become commonplace in quantitative political science. The aim of this course is to redress this gap. The course organisers will equip students with a toolkit that will enable them to both conceptualise and execute an interpretive project.


The course covers:

  • Situating the interpretive approach in relation to other ways of doing political science research by reference to the philosophical, epistemological, and methodological assumptions on which these approaches are based;
  • The theoretical and analytical tools students need to design and conduct their research project;
  • The toolkit of methods used by interpretive scholars to collect data, including ethnographic and interview-based methods;
  • The standards that will both ensure results are reliable and maximise the impact of findings; and
  • Guidance on the norms and principles used to analyse data in an interpretive project.


By the end of the course participants will:

  • Be able to describe the particular strengths and features of the interpretive approach
  • Be able to develop and justify a sophisticated design for interpretive research
  • Have experience interpreting rich qualitative data


The course, organised by the PSA Interpretive Political Science specialist group with the National Centre for Research Methods and University of Southhampton, is primarily aimed at PhD students and early career scholars of political science, public policy and public administration, but scholars of other social science disciplines, such as criminology, sociology, planning or legal studies, will also benefit from it. There are no pre-requisites but you will be asked to bring a written summary of your research with you.



The fee per teaching day is:

• £30 per day for UK/EU registered students
• £60 per day for staff at UK/EU academic institutions, UK/EU Research Councils researchers, UK/EU public sector staff and staff at UK/EU registered charity organisations and recognised UK/EU research institutions. 
• £220 per day for all other participants

All fees include event materials, lunch, morning and afternoon tea. They do not include travel and accommodation costs

A full refund is available two weeks prior to the course taking place, NO refunds are available after this date.


You can register here.

Room 39/2015 SO17 1BJ Southampton