Online training


Online training
BYO computer, your house, your address


27 Apr 2021


1:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Bridging the gap: innovative methods for text analysis in political science and IR

This training event has been organised by PhD students within the Security, Conflict & Justice (SCJ) Pathway and the Cities, Environment and Liveability (CEL) Pathway, in collaboration with the Department of Politics and International Relations of the University of Sheffield.  It is open to all ESRC and non-ESRC funded students within the seven WRDTP partner institutions from any Pathway.

The event aims to bring a number of eminent academics working in quantitative text analysis together to share and discuss its potential applications in political science, with a particular focus on topic modelling.

Key themes of the event

  • Key literature, theories and concepts where quantitative text analysis and topic modelling has significant potential and relevance
  • Challenges in applying quantitative text analysis and topic models e.g. methodological challenges, challenges from reviewers

  • The relationship between quantitative text analysis and prominent epistemological positions adopted in political science e.g. interpretivism, post-positivism

  • Motivating examples demonstrating the benefits of quantitative text analysis and topic modelling

  • Guidance for early career researchers, or academics new to quantitative text analysis, on where to start


  1. A series of short presentations providing case studies of quantitative text analysis and topic modelling – 1.30pm-2.30pm BST

  2. An introductory training session on implementing a structural topic model (STM) – 2.30pm-3.30pm BST

  3. A roundtable discussion on the opportunities and challenges for quantitative text analysis in political science – 4pm-5pm BST

Student Organisers

We are both PhD students, coming from a political science background, with a shared interest in quantitative text analysis.  We are hosting this event because we are enthusiastic about the increased prominence of this form of analysis within political science, but also feel that there is unrealised potential due in part to a lack of exposure for most PhD students and academics.

We are both aiming to apply STM within our theses. Frank will use STM to explore ideational patterns of Chinese influence in Central Asia, whilst Michael will use it to explore the financialisation of UK social housing.

List of participants

Professor Dustin Tingley – Harvard University
Dr Brandon Steward – Princeton University
Dr Benjamin Bagozzi – University of Delaware
Professor Ken Benoit – London School of Economics
Dr Claudia Roberta Combei – University of Bologna
Dr Anastasia Shesterinina – University of Sheffield
Dr Todd Hartman – University of Sheffield (chair)
Sessions 1 & 2
Dr Claudia Roberta Combei – University of Bologna – will provide training in session 2
Dr Matteo Farnè – University of Bologna
Dr Valentina Anzoise – European Institute of Design
Dr Debora Slanzi – Ca’ Foscari University of Venice

PLEASE NOTE: Our online training sessions will be recorded and will be available on the VIRE in an edited format for those students who cannot attend. If you wish to join this session but do not wish for your contributions to be included in the edited VIRE resource, please ensure that you select NO when prompted in the online booking form regarding recording.