June 2017 Newsletter

In our June 2017 newsletter we have information on the following for you:

  1. Qualitative methods workshop
  2. Study of Parliament Group
  3. Update to our Annual Conference
  4. Writing workshop: consultation
  5. Recently on the blog

If you have any notices / messages you would like us to circulate to the group, please let us know (including events, new research projects, grants, publications, etc.). Or other ideas for the group and feedback for us, they’re welcome too!

Best wishes,
Marc (@marcgeddes), Louise (@LouiseVThompson), Alex (@A_Meakin) and Leanne (@LeanneMarieC)

1. Qualitative methods workshop

On Wednesday 19th July 2017 we are holding a qualitative methods workshop at Liverpool University.  The workshop will explore a wide range of research in this area including the use of parliamentary debates, elite interviews and focus groups, legislative texts and computer aided analysis. It is a great opportunity to learn more about using these techniques as well as some top tips if you are working on this type of research yourself.  As always, there will be plenty of opportunity for questions and discussion.

Our expert line up is as follows:

  • Andrew Crines (University of Liverpool)
  • Sean Haughey (University of Liverpool)
  • Marc Geddes (University of Edinburgh)
  • Ruth Dixon (University of Oxford)
  • Matthew Williams (University of Oxford)

This workshop is open to all members of the group and is free to attend. The day will run from approximately 10:30am-3.30pm and lunch will be provided. Special thanks to SG member Sean Haughey for helping us to arrange this.

Although the event is free, please register for the event here in order for us to gauge attendance and make catering arrangements. Please register by 18 July.

2. Study of Parliament Group

This is a reminder that if you are not a member of the Study of Parliament Group (SPG), then you are more than welcome to join the group. As the name suggests, the group is intended to study and monitor institutions within Parliament, and comprises of a range of current and former academics and current and former practitioners.

The SPG is holding its annual conference, the Oxford Weekend, 05-07 January in 2018, and usually have an academic panel as part of this conference (‘Current Research on Parliament’). If you would like to present a paper at this conference – which is a great opportunity to gain clerkly insights – then please contact the academic liaison, Sarah Childs. Her email address: s.childs@bristol.ac.uk.

More details about the SPG can be found on their website: http://www.studyofparliament.org.uk.

3. Annual conference update

We are pleased to announce that our Annual Conference this year will be co-hosted and co-organised in collaboration with the Study of the Scottish Parliament Group (SSPG).

As a reminder, our conference this year will be under the theme of ‘Legislatures in Uncertain Times’, and our call for submissions asks for participants to submit a 150-word abstract in advance of a 1,500-word blog (if accepted).

The event will be held on Friday, 17 November at the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh (with an informal gathering on Thursday, 16 November for those travelling early in anticipation of the conference).

The conference is expected to begin at 9.15am and finish at 5.00pm.

The deadline for abstracts is 08 September. We will aim to notify accepted abstracts by 02 October.

In order to submit an abstract, attend the conference, or for further information about the event, please get in touch with Marc Geddes (marc.geddes@ed.ac.uk).

A full outline of the conference call can be found here [opens PDF].

4. Writing workshop consultation

In our last newsletter, we asked for feedback on an idea for a writing workshop for members of our group. We have had some feedback from members, but please consider adding your own ideas and feedback to this idea (as we depend on your feedback to know what works / what doesn’t). A summary of the idea:

  • We would hold one or two workshops per academic year for small groups (6-10) to come together to read, discuss and constructively critique one another’s work in detail.
  • Every attendant must read all papers and participate in each discussion.
  • Papers must be full drafts for peer-reviewed research (not book or PhD chapters).
  • Each paper could have assigned a ‘good cop’ (to identify the key strengths of the paper) and a ‘bad cop’ (to identify weaknesses)
  • Each paper discussion would last around 45 minutes, including a 5 minute introduction followed by detailed discussion led by assigned discussants (20 min) and rest of the group (20 min)
  • We aim to have at least one senior academic present who is a current or former journal editor, or experienced in publishing.
  • We would not be able to cover any costs for these workshops, but the benefits for each attendant would be very detailed peer review comments.
  • We would like to gauge feedback for this idea. We aim to facilitate the organisation of one, two or possibly three of these workshops per year if there is enough interest in bringing small groups of academics together.We are tentatively proposed one workshop to take place in Sheffield in early to mid-September and open to academics at all levels – preferably a mixture of ECAs and senior researchers to give diversity in feedback.

Please could you get in touch with us for feedback about this proposal? We would love to hear thoughts about the proposed format, rules, organisation, possible ways to support funding, or other ways to support our members in writing research. And of course, if you are interested in attending an event of this type (whether specifically in September, or at an alternative location / time). Perhaps you feel that this is not a useful way for our group to support members – if so, please feel free to suggest alternative ways of support that we can offer.

5. Recently on the blog

Our website has been incredibly busy with new blogs, including:


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