Interpretive Political Science Training

Organised by NCRM, University of Southampton and presented by Professor Rod Rhodes, Professor Jack Corbett, Dr John Boswell and Dr Tamara Metze

Level: Intermediate (some prior knowledge)

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.
  • An introduction to comparative interpretive research


By the end of the course participants will:

  • Be able to describe the 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 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. We welcome PhDs etc. from member institutions of the ECPR and researchers from NGOs and charitable organisations.

There are no prerequisites, but you will be asked to bring (i) your own laptop; (ii) a brief summary of your research; and an example of your fieldwork (if available).


The fee per teaching day is:

• £35 per day for registered students.

• £75 per day for staff at academic institutions, Research Councils researchers, public sector staff and staff at registered charity organisations and recognised research institutions.

• £250 per day for all other participants.

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


Jacqui Thorp
Training and Capacity Building Co-ordinator, National Centre for Research Methods

Room - TBC, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton. Hants