International Comparative Research

Theory, methods and practice

by Linda Hantrais

Training opportunities

ESRC RDI Workshops: International Social Research Training

A series of workshops was piloted in 2010 and 2011 under the auspices of the Social Research Association in partnership with the Centre for International Studies, London School of Economics, UK.

Professors Julia Brannen and Linda Hantrais have been Academic Consultants for the project, with Dr Dave Filipovic-Carter as Training Consultant. The workshops were initially held in London as four free-standing but interrelated units. They are now available in different formats for delivery as bespoke programmes in the UK regions and further afield.

The workshop series covers four aspects of international social research training, which are closely linked to the chapters in International Comparative Research:

  • firstly, an introduction to international social research exploring the reasons why social researchers from different national and disciplinary backgrounds develop an international dimension in their work (see Chapters 1 and 2).
  • secondly, responses to the 'how' questions raised by comparative international social research, focusing on rationales for project design, and covering the object of inquiry, the formulation of research questions, and the selection of units and levels of analysis (see Chapter 3).
  • thirdly, a critical examination of the different methodological approaches used in international comparative social research, with reference to data collection, analysis and interpretation, reviewing the advantages and drawbacks of each approach and considering how methodological decisions taken early in the research can impact on findings (see Chapters 4–6).
  • fourthly, changing practice in international project management, focusing on the ways in which the composition of research teams across disciplines and countries affects the dynamics of the research process from design through to implementation and dissemination, and addressing questions of access to external funding, interaction with sponsors and stakeholders, and the constraints they impose (see Chapter 7).

Practical information

The series of four one-day workshops has been re-developed as a 2.5 day stand-alone course, to achieve the four broad aims outlined above. The course can be delivered flexibly in terms of the balance of the days offered. The sessions are participatory, and draw heavily on the experience of the contributors, to enable them to develop their skills further in their own specific context. To achieve this aim, the workshops are relatively small: usually a maximum of 20 participants per session.

The course can be delivered for a particular institutional audience, or offered more broadly, anywhere in the UK, in the wider Europe or further afield. The content can be adapted to fit particular institutional contexts.

A version of the course has been developed specifically for doctoral researchers, with a greater focus on content elements most relevant to researchers who are at an earlier stage in their careers.

Please contact Dr Dave Filipovic-Carter at for more information.

European Social Survey (ESS), Methodology from Principles to Practice: Training

Association of Research Managers and Administrators (ARMA), Training