Alexandra Wishart, October 2018
The BEAR Network Graduate Mobility Grant enabled me to attend the BEAR Multi-Methods Workshop on Social Network Analysis and Protest Event Analysis taking place at the University of Glasgow (03 – 05 October 2018). The workshop has proven highly relevant for my Master research on political activism in Ukraine.
The first day of the workshop given by Samuel Green and Graeme Robertson gave a comprehensive overview of the different techniques one can use in order to study protest movement. In regards to my own research this day has proven highly relevant as I will be able to utilize the knowledge software and theory in my own field research. Even though I will focus on Social Movements mostly from a qualitative methodological perspective the workshop has opened my eyes towards the possibilities that I have in order to study political activism as well as Social Movements. Overall, the first day provided a great introduction into the material of Protest Event Analysis which I am most likely to fall back onto within my thesis research.
The second day of the workshop given by Phillip Leitfeld was mostly focused on studying Social Networks through quantitative data analysis. We were given a great introduction into the methodology and different tools one can utilize when working with R or other statistical analysis programs. Having a background in SPSS but less in R, I noticed that not being a PhD candidate yet meant I might not be able to use this specific knowledge, as it would make my research too extensive for a Master thesis.
During the third day of the workshop we discussed the creation of simulations and games as a pedagogical tool for political science teaching. This workshop, given by Adrian Florea and Victor Asal, helped us to understand the utility of simulations and possible strategies for creating and adapting them according to content. As I am not a PhD candidate I will not necessarily use this training for teaching purposes in this regard; however, as someone that has extensive experience with creating simulations throughout my work as trainer in Negotiation Theory and Diplomatic skills, the workshop proved to be extremely useful. I will be able to implement some of the tips and tricks into the creation of simulations and cases for my professional career.
Overall, as a Master student the BEAR Multi-Methods Workshop has been perfect in helping me assess the utility of Social Network Analysis for my thesis research. Additionally, the inspiring academic environment has made me consider the possibility of following-up on my current research by pursuing an eventual PhD. Moreover, it was great hearing from other researchers how they utilize different methodologies in practice as I am myself still in the beginning of my academic career. Overall, the feedback of the professors as well as the other participants has highly inspired me to improve on my methodology and has provided me with a useful network of other enthusiasts of the region.