Summer School Concept

Each summer school will last twelve days, during which advanced master students, doctoral students, and more senior researchers from multiple academic disciplines are introduced to methods of computational social science (CSS) and conduct a self-designed hands-on data-driven research project. In each summer school one of the themes — conflict, migration, and social cohesion — is in the focus taking into account the interdependencies with the other two themes. The events will be organized as intensive research incubators, inspired by the idea of start-up incubators that accelerate business innovation. Participants shall achieve the following goals:

  1. They work in teams and build an international and interdisciplinary network.
  2. They learn to formulate and pursue substantive social science research questions.
  3. They use computational methods through on-the-spot training and learning by doing,
  4. They produce a draft manuscript on a team-chosen relevant topic which can be submitted for publication.
Hands-on projects

Participants will form project teams of three members and will be guided by two experienced researchers – one with a strong topical expertise and one with a strong methodological expertise. The guides serve as senior researchers and as project managers. About half of them will be local faculty or senior fellows of BIGSSS while the other half will be external experts in methods of computational social science. Besides the methodological and topical contributions by the guides, each school features keynotes and some introductory topical and methodological lectures by senior external experts.

Each project should combine CSS methods with a focus on the respective topic of the summer school – conflict, migration or social cohesion. Each summer school will operate on a common pool of data and code to access it. Core scripts for data access to the datasets will be provided to enable easy integration in research projects. The central language for this will be R.

What to expect

In the first week, participants will learn about conflict research and computational social science through lectures and workshops to set the stage for all equal. Our keynote speakers will round off the introductory program of the first week. In addition, project work will start in the first week. The second week will be mainly devoted to project work and participants will study their research topic together with their team member in group work. Short feedback rounds will ensure exchange with other participants.

Optional to all who want to refresh their R skills or are not familiar with the programming language, we will provide a two-day training on R basics before the school starts. In the evenings and the weekend, there will be enough time and space for networking and leisure activities. A fun and relaxing social program will be offered for the evenings and the weekend, too.