May 2018 newsletter

Welcome to the May edition of our newsletter, including:

  1. Our Conference – call for papers/blogs
  2. FINAL Reminder: Quantitative Methods Workshop
  3. FINAL Reminder: Essay Competition
  4. Invitation to Conference in Seoul, South Korea
  5. New Event: Qualitative Methods Workshop
  6. Written Evidence Published
  7. Recently on our 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 Seán @S_Haughey

1. PSA Parliaments Group Conference – Call for Papers/Blogs

We are pleased to formally announce that our annual conference will take place in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The theme for our conference this year is ‘Making Sense of Parliaments’ – a timely and pertinent question in the NI context, given that the region’s legislature has been suspended since January 2017. Our conference seeks to highlight the best research into legislatures, shining a light on how we can make sense of scrutiny, representation, governance and all aspects of parliamentary life.

Our call for submissions

Building on our success from last year, we are asking for participants to submit a 150-word abstract which, if accepted, would be turned into a 1,000 – 1,500-word blog post. We aim to circulate draft blog pieces before the conference, and publish revised versions after the conference on the PSA Parliaments Group website. To submit your abstract, please complete the attached form. We welcome researchers, academics and practitioners from all disciplines and at all levels, and of course promote methodological pluralism.

Conference details

Date and time: Thursday, 08 Nov (1pm-6.30pm) and Friday, 09 Nov (9am-12.30pm)
Location: Parliament Buildings, Stormont Estate, Belfast, BT4, Northern Ireland

A draft conference schedule will be published closer to the time.

Key dates

Monday, 07 May – Call for blogs/papers announced
Friday, 07 September – Deadline for abstracts
Monday, 01 October – Notification of acceptance
Friday, 02 November – Deadline for registration and draft papers
08-09 November – Conference

For further details, please get in touch with Marc Geddes ( Keep up-to-date at our website.

2. FINAL REMINDER: Statistical Analysis of Parliaments and Legislatures for Dabblers – 25 May

Time: 11.00-15.00 (with lunch provided)
Date: Friday, 25 May 2018
Venue: University of Birmingham (Room TBC)

This workshop is open to all, but is aimed at those with little or no previous experience of quantitative statistics but who believe it may be useful for them in their current or future research.

The workshop will be based around the conveners’ British Academy-funded research project on select committees. Each stage of the project – from initial inspiration through data collection and analysis to finished article – will be outlined and discussed in terms of both methodological and practical considerations so that participants have an idea of what the research process entails and what hazards and opportunities to look out for along the way. It will cover such things as finding out about available data, the different software that may be useful, and working with external stakeholders and experts.

The workshop will be run by Stephen Bates (who remains a relative novice when it comes to quantitative statistics) and Steve McKay (who is an old-hand at this kind of thing).

Attendance and lunch are free but participants will have to cover their travel costs. The PSA Parliaments Group are able to offer a limited number of travel bursaries of up to £50 to PhD students who sign up to the event (4 available in total).

To register for the workshop, please email Stephen Bates (s.r.bates[at]bham[dot]ac[dot]uk).

3. FINAL REMINDER: Essay Competition 2018

We would like to remind all members about our Essay Competition 2018. The winner will be presented with a prize of £100 and a runner-up prize of £50. Last year’s winners were presented the award by the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament at our annual one-day conference.

The essay competition is open to all undergraduate students, who should complete an essay with a focus on parliament(s), with a word limit of up to 3,500 words (excluding bibliography and references). In order to enter, lecturers must submit an essay on their students’ behalf by the closing date of Friday 01 June 2018. Please note that only one submission can be made per lecturer (teaching assistant), who must be a member of the PSA and of Parliaments Group.

Entries should be anonymised and sent to Marc Geddes ( and Louise Thompson ( with key information as requested on our website. The winner will be announced in July 2018.

Full entry information and judging criteria.

4. Invitation to Conference in Seoul, South Korea

The Legislative Attache of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in London, Seyong Park, would like to invite academics of the Political Studies Association to an international conference held in July in Seoul, South Korea.

The Korean National Assembly of Korea is hosting an international conference commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the constitution of the Republic of Korea on 12th July and would like to invite academics, experts and Parliamentarians from overseas Parliaments. As the birth place of Parliamentary democracy, we have a keen interest in learning more about Parliamentary system and Parliaemntary democracy in the UK and would like to invite you and/or your fellow academics to speak and participate in the debate during the conference.

The main theme of the conference is: ‘Parliament and Consitution for the Future.’ and the topics include ‘The Role of Parliament in Responding to Changing Industrial Structure’ and ‘Constitution and Public Participation in the Legislative Process’. Each speakers will be given 15 mintues and then there will be a debate.

If anyone decides to come to Seoul for the conference, all expense except for the flight ticket will be covered by the National Assembly of Korea. We will provide a three-day accommodation and programme including the tour of the Korean National Assembly and welcome dinner (11 July), International Conference (12 July) and Seoul tour (13 July).

For further information, please email Seyong Park no later than 31 May:

5. Qualitative Methods Workshop

Building on success from last year, we are pleased to announce that, on Friday, 29 June, we are holding a qualitative methods workshop at the University of Sheffield. The workshop is aimed at and designed for anyone interested in using qualitative methods, particularly interviews, observation and textual analysis. The workshop will have three themed sessions, during which senior and experienced researchers (speakers TBC) will give short presentations to give practical and hands-on tips to use various qualitative methods.

The focus of each themed session is to provide a practical approach to using qualitative methods (rather than focusing on theoretical debates/discussions). Attendees will have the opportunity to discuss their own research design throughout the day.

The workshop will take place at the Department of Politics (see here for directions) and run from 10am until 5pm (a full schedule will be made available shortly). Lunch will be provided. Each themed session will last around 1h30min.

The workshop is open to all. For PSA members, the event will cost £5.00; for non-PSA members, it will be £7.50. If you are a PhD student and coming from outside Sheffield, we are able to contribute up to £50.00 towards travel costs (due to limited funds, this is on a first-come-first-serve basis, and cannot be guaranteed). Please register online here (payment will be made on the day).

This workshop is brought to you by the PSA Parliaments Group, the PSA Early Career Network, PSA Interpretive Political Science Group and the PSA Qualitative Methods Group.

For any questions, please contact Marc Geddes (

6. Written Evidence Published

A number of our Group members have had their written evidence published as part of an inquiry by the House of Lords Constitution Committee.

All of the written evidence is available on the Committee’s website. We hope that the Committee will take the evidence on board as part of their discussions.

7. Recently on the blog


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