Fall Methods Workshops

PhD level courses in qualitative comparative analysis, process-tracing methods, interpretive research, structural equation modeling, qualitative interviewing and ethnographic methods will be offered at this year’s Fall Methods Workshops, hosted by the Department of Political Science, Aarhus University and organised by the Methods Excellence Network (MethodsNET). The courses are designed to bring the methodological aspects of your research project to the next level.

Workshops 17th October to 21st October 2022:

Doing interpretive research workshop

Instructor: Frederic Schaffer, University of Massachusetts Amherst

This five-day interactive workshop provides an opportunity to explore how a heightened attentiveness to the theory and nuts-and-bolts practice of doing interpretivist research can enhance your own work. The workshop focuses on a few elements of interpretivist research that tend to be particularly challenging: understanding and enacting interpretivism’s distinctive ontological and epistemological presuppositions, making interpretivist research intelligible and persuasive to non-interpretivist audiences, working with concepts, casing and comparing, and integrating reflexivity (with special attention to positionality and ethics) into each stage of the research process.

Process-tracing methods

Instructor: Derek Beach, Aarhus University

This hands-on course gives you the methodological tools to refine your use of process-tracing methods in your own substantive research. It will also enable you to embed process-tracing case studies in mixed-methods research design. The course requires that your research project has  theoretical conjectures that can be turned into process theories, and you have ideas about potential empirical observations and have collected some empirical data. Topics include discussing how to distinguish process tracing from other methods; including large-n variance-based methods, but also other small-n case-based methods such as analytical narratives and comparative case studies. This is followed by discussions of how processual theories can be developed and improved, focusing on how to capture the activities and their underlying causal linkages in order to understand how a process works and evidence it empirically. We also discuss how inferences can be made using within-case evidence, and the challenges relating to the evaluation of evidence. We also address questions of case selection, generalization and mixed/multi-methods in the final morning session.

Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)

Instructor: Carsten Q. Schneider, Central European University (CEU)

This hands-on course gives you the methodological tools to refine your use of set-theoretic methods, in particular Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), in your own substantive research. Beyond the correct implementation of QCA, special focus will be laid on combining QCA with other tools for descriptive and causal inference. The course is designed for participants who are already applying QCA, and want to bring their research to the next level. The course requires active participation.

Workshops 7th November to 11th November 2022:

Ethnographic methods

Instructor: Cai Wilkinson, Deakin University

More information will follow shortly.

Qualitative interviewing

Instructor: Lea Sgier, Central European University

More information will follow shortly.

Structural equation modeling

Instructor: Levi Littvay, Central European University

More information will follow shortly.

More about the Fall Methods Workshops

The Fall Methods Workshops courses combine discussions of cutting-edge developments within a particular method with detailed feedback and discussion of the methodological aspects of your own research project and those of other participants.

Participation in a workshop will bring you to the next level in your understanding of how to use a method in practice in relation to your research question. The courses are aimed at PhD scholars and junior researchers (post-doc or above) whose research is at a more advanced stage. Class sizes are kept small in the workshops.

In addition to the workshops themselves, there will be several cross-cutting lunch sessions for all participants in which key methods and design issues are debated across different methodological approaches (variance-based, case-based and interpretive). The goal of the cross-cutting sessions are to enable participants to better understand research findings from different traditions, and to communicate findings to scholars working in other traditions. The topics include: foundational assumptions (ontological and epistemological) across different approaches, making inferences, and whether and how generalizations can be made.

Time & venue

Monday 17th October to Friday 21st October 2022 and Monday 7th November to Friday 11th November 2022.

Courses are held at the main campus of Aarhus University, in downtown Aarhus, Denmark.

Courses will take place in-person over five days, Monday to Friday, from 9.00 to 16.30 every day.

Registration deadline

1st October 2022


All courses are taught in English.


  • PhD student or junior faculty in the social sciences
  • A basic user-level familiarity with the method of the course
  • Your research project is at a more advanced stage. This means that you should have at least some empirical material and engaged in some form of analysis of this material.

Course fee

 €750 (including lunch, coffee and tea)


Participants receive 5 ECTS for a course. This includes preparations before the course (readings and pre-course exercises), active participation during the course week, and some form of post-course written exercise.


The event will be held in-person. The event will follow the official COVID policy of Aarhus University. In the event of participants being unable to travel due to Covid, the registration fee will be refunded.


Participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodation. Aarhus can be reached by bus, train and airplane (nearest airports are Aarhus, Billund and Aalborg). There are many options for staying in Aarhus, including Airbnb and many hotels and hostels.


The Fall Methods Workshops are organised by the Methods Excellence Network (MethodsNET) and hosted by the Department of Political Science, Aarhus University, Denmark.