ANU Online Summer School in Political Analysis


Date & time

Mon 01 Feb 2021, 9.30am – Thu 18 Feb 2021, 12pm



ANU Online Summer School in Political Analysis (SSPA)

February 1st - 18th 2021 

Advanced and foundational studies in political analysis and research methods. Hosted by the Australian National University’s School of Politics & International Relations (SPIR).


Research training for tomorrow's world

2021 sees the global community facing significant challenges — politically, economically, socially and environmentally. It’s a world that’s fraught with uncertainty, but it’s also a future that will rely on the expertise of academics and professionals in political science to help navigate the road ahead. That's why, in February 2021, the School of Politics and IR will host a fully online summer school in Political Analysis. We will provide a sequenced combination of foundational and advanced short-course topics focused on methods in political science. 

    Who should take part?

    The SSPA has been created to meet the needs of….

    • University graduates pursuing or seeking to pursue PhD degrees in political science at ANU and other Australian universities
    • International political science graduates pursuing or seeking to pursue advanced studies or enhance their skills and employability in political analysis
    • Professional political science researchers in academia and policy organisations

    Our courses

    See the Program tab for more details on the contents of each course. 

    Small cost, big benefit

    Each course has been designed to deliver a fully interactive and informative learning experience that will make an invaluable contribution to your academic or professional development — and at a cost that should prove a sound investment for you or your institution to make. 

    The SSPA comprises:

    • Courses that cover the fundamentals of political science (6 half-day sessions; 15 hrs contact time; 32 hrs total study) — A$900
    • Courses that cover advanced topics across the discipline (4 half-day sessions; 10 hrs contact time; 21 hrs total study) — A$600

    LINK TO BOOKING/PAYMENT (ANU Students will recieve a 20% discount. Students from the ANU Research School of Social Sciences please contact to arrange payment)

    ANU Summer School in Political Analysis Timetable*

      Week 1 (Feb 1 - Feb 5)   Week 2 (Feb 8 - Feb 12)   Week 3 (Feb 15 - Feb 18)
    Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri   Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri   Mon Tue Wed Thu
    AM session (9:30-12:00) Foundations of Research Design (FC1) AM session (9:30-12:00) FC1 Longitudinal Analysis (AC1) AM session (9:30-12:00) Political Survey Design (AC4)
          Bayesian Statistics (AC5)
    PM session (13:00-15:30) Foundations of Statistical Analysis (FC2) PM   session (13:00-15:30) FC2 Critical Discourse Analysis (AC2) PM session (13:00-15:30) Time Series Cross Section (AC6)
        Experimental Methods (AC3)  
    Evening Session (18:00-20:30)   Evening Session (18:00-20:30)   Evening Session (18:00-20:30) Political Text Analysis (AC7)
    *Please note that courses may not be taken concurrently. Please ensure that your chosen courses do not clash before registering.


    Teaching quant with R 

    R is a free and increasingly common statistical computing tool for political science researchers. Unless stated otherwise, quantitative courses in our summer school are taught using R. Keeping our course stack within R eliminates unnecessary cost in training and equipping students, while at the same time streamlining course progression.

    Introductory Courses

    Foundations of Research Design for Political Science (32 hours)

    The aim of this course is to equip students with the skills and knowledge to design their own studies to investigate research questions in political science. The course will be focused on the following content areas: how to ask good research questions; definitions and measurement of political science concepts; causality and causal inference; experiments and quasi-experiments; and qualitative and quantitative research designs. [Instructor: Dr. Katrine Beauregard]

    Foundations of Statistical Analysis in Political Science (32 hours)

    The aim of this course is to provide students with an accessible introduction to the fundamentals of quantitative political science research. The course will be focused on understanding types of data; data visualization; bivariate statistical methods (t tests, chi-squared tests, correlation); and multivariate statistical methods (simple and multiple regression). [Instructor: Dr. Patrick Leslie]

    Advanced Courses (prerequisites: both foundational courses or permission of instructor)

    Political Survey Design and Analysis (21 hours)

    The aim of this course is to provide students with an introduction to designing and administering high-quality surveys in political science, as well as the basics of survey analysis using R. The course will be focused on the following content areas: measuring concepts and ideas; questionnaire design and question wording; sampling and response maximisation; modes of data collection; and basic survey data analysis. [Instructor: Dr. Jill Sheppard]

    Introduction to Political Text Analysis (21 hours)

    This course surveys methods for systematically extracting quantitative information from political text for social scientific purposes, starting with classical content analysis and dictionary-based methods, to classification methods, and state-of-the-art scaling methods and topic models for estimating quantities from text using statistical techniques. The course lays a theoretical foundation for text analysis but mainly takes a very practical and applied approach, so that students learn how to apply these methods in actual research. [Instructor: Prof. Ken Benoit]

    Experimental Methods in Political Science (21 hours)

    The aim of this course is to introduce course participants to survey experimental research in political science and international relations focusing on questions of design and implementation. The course will introduce experimental design through concrete examples using R, complemented by methodological readings.  [Instructor: Dr. Quynh Nguyen]

    Time Series Cross Sectional Analysis (21 hours)

    The course surveys methods for dealing with observations which are correlated over time and or space, especially in situations where the number of individual units exceeds the number of time periods. These situations are common in applied contexts in international relations and comparative politics. The aim of this course is to familiarize students with the statistical underpinnings and assumptions of the models used for these situations in practical contexts, as well as with practical uses of the software. This is because the choice of method will largely be determined by the specifics of your research project, so that a ‘canned’ solution will generally not work.  [Instructor: Dr. Charles Miller]

    Longitudinal Analysis for Political Science (21 hours)

    The aim of this course is to provide a practical, hands-on introduction to the analysis of longitudinal (repeated cross-sectional and panel) data for answering research and policy questions. The course will be focused on the following content areas: learning how longitudinal data differs from other forms of data; familiarising students with some common longitudinal datasets in the social sciences in Stata; understanding a number of statistical methods for analysing longitudinal data in Stata; and understanding how to interpret the results of these analyses.  [Instructor: Dr. Feodor Snagovsky] NOTE: This course will be taught in Stata. Students will require their own Stata licence. 

    Bayesian Statistics for Politics (21 hours)

    The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to the Bayesian approach to statistical inference and estimation for applications in political science using the statistical modelling package R. Emphasis will be placed on the understanding the basic framework of Bayesian statistics, comparison with traditional frequentist approaches, the implementation of these models, the interpretation of results, and the evaluation of model fit.  Models considered include. [Instructor: Dr. Shawn Treier]

    Introduction to Critical Discourse Analysis (21 hours)

    The aim of this course is to introduce students to the foundations of Critical Discourse Analysis. The course will provide an overview of the foundations of CDA in critical and social theory, hermeneutics, social constructivism, and socio-linguistics before introducing students to the conceptual framework and analytical tools of CDA.  [Instructor: Dr. April Biccum]


    For further information please contact Dr. Patrick Leslie ( or Prof. Ben Goldsmith (

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