Update from Qualitative Methods workshop

The PSA Parliaments Group held a workshop on qualitative methods at the University of Liverpool on Wednesday 19 July. Read on for a report of the day.

Our Qualitative Methods workshop on 19 July attracted 25 early career researchers from across the country for a day of expert presentations and networking.

The day started with a discussion on elite interviewing techniques, led by Seán Haughey of the University of Liverpool. Seán shared his tips for interviewing parliamentarians and reflected on his fieldwork interviewing MLAs in Northern Ireland. View Seán’s presentation.

Dr Marc Geddes of the University of Edinburgh then spoke about his experience of using observation to study select committees in Westminster, and emphasised the value of the distinctive vantage point provided by observation.

Dr Andrew Crines, University of Liverpool, discussed how he uses transcripts, audio and video of parliamentary debates in his analysis of political rhetoric and oratory.

Dr Ruth Dixon, of the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, spoke about her line by line analysis of amendments to Government Bills: find out more about her research in her recent blog post. You can also view Ruth’s presentation.

Dr Matt Williams, Jesus College, University of Oxford, discussed his research into the language used in legislation. View Matt’s presentation or find out more on his website


The event finished with an interactive discussion for attendees to share details of their plans for their research, and receive expert advice on any methodological questions. Topics ranged from access to civil servants and parliamentarians, conducting interviews in a different language, and carrying out interviews on sensitive subjects.

Many thanks to Seán Haughey and the University of Liverpool for hosting the workshop. Thank you also to all our speakers, and to Co-Convenors Marc Geddes and Louise Thompson for their work in organising the day.

If you would be interested in attending or hosting a future workshop on qualitative or quantitative research methods, please email psa.parliaments@gmail.com to register your interest so we can scope demand.



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