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Pre-conference Short Courses

Pre-conference short courses provide diverse opportunities, either half day or full day, for professional development and offer attendees the chance to connect with scholars from a range of backgrounds. They are sponsored by APSA Organized Sections and other affiliated organizations.  APSA will offer pre-conference short courses as part of the in-person event format. All short course participants must be registered for the Annual Meeting and have a badge before attending.

These courses will run on Wednesday, September 14, in Montréal. In-person attendees can register as part of the registration process for short courses. There is an additional $25 fee for pre-conference short courses. If you have already registered for the Annual Meeting and would like to add a short course registration, please contact

Andrew Stinson
Full Day, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Westin, Ramezay

See Research and Development Group page for more information. 

Tasha Fairfield
Half Day, 1:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Palais des congrés de Montréal, 513B

This short course outlines the logic of Bayesian process tracing and provides students with practical advice, examples, and exercises to enable them to use this method in their work. It builds on Social Inquiry and Bayesian Inference: Rethinking Qualitative Research, by Tasha Fairfield and Andrew Charman (Cambridge University Press, 2022).

The course does not require any prior training in process training, Bayesianism, probability theory, or logic. The only math skills that will be assumed are basic arithmetic. The course is designed to complement the APSA short course led by Andrew Bennett, Jeffrey T. Checkel, and Tasha Fairfield, but each course can also be usefully taken independently from the other.

The core idea that motivates the course is that the way we intuitively approach qualitative case research is similar to how we read detective novels. We consider various different hypotheses to explain what occurred—whether the emergence of democracy in South Africa, or the death of Samuel Ratchett on the Orient Express—drawing on the literature we have read (e.g. theories of regime change, or other Agatha Christie mysteries) and any salient previous experiences we have had. As we gather evidence and discover new clues, we continually update our beliefs about which hypothesis provides the best explanation—or we may introduce a new alternative that occurs to us along the way.

Bayesianism provides a natural framework that is both logically rigorous and grounded in common sense, that governs how we should revise our degree of belief in the truth of a hypothesis—e.g., “mobilisation from below drove democratization in South Africa by altering economic elites’ regime preferences,” (Wood 2001), or “a lone gangster sneaked onboard the train and killed Ratchett as revenge for being swindled”—given our relevant prior knowledge and new information that we obtain during our investigation. Bayesianism is enjoying a revival across many fields, and it offers a powerful tool for improving inference and analytic transparency in qualitative research.

This course introduces basic principles of Bayesian reasoning with the goal of helping us leverage common-sense understandings of inference and improve intuition when conducting causal analysis with qualitative evidence. We begin by introducing the general logic of Bayesian inference, that is, how we can update our prior view about which explanation is more plausible when we learn new evidence about our cases. We explain the importance of developing mutually exclusive explanations and discuss how to formulate well-constructed hypotheses to compare. We then elaborate practical procedures for evaluating the inferential import of the evidence by assessing its likelihood under rival hypotheses and weighing the totality of evidence to update our prior views about which hypothesis provides the best explanation. We include multiple examples and exercises drawing on published case studies from comparative politics and international relations to show how this updating process works in practice with real-world qualitative evidence.

Enrique Pinzon
Full Day, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Palais des congrés de Montréal, 513E

In this workshop, we discuss methods for drawing causal inferences when
analyzing observational rather than experimental data. We present a variety of
estimators for average treatment effects (ATEs) and average treatment effects
on the treated (ATETs) and discuss when each estimator is useful. Throughout
the workshop, we cover the conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of
treatment effects and demonstrate the methods with many practical examples
worked using Stata software.

After a discussion of the potential-outcome framework and an overview of
the parameters estimated, the workshop indroduces the following
treatment-effect estimators

o regression-adjustment estimator
o inverse-probability-weighted (IPW) estimator
o augmented IPW estimator
o IPW regression-adjustment estimator
o nearest-neighbor matching estimator
o propensity-score matching estimator
o difference-in-differences (DID)

The course also discusses

o standard errors and diagnostics for DID estimation
o double-robustness property of the augmented IPW and IPW regression-adjustment
o estimators using different functional forms for outcome model and treatment
o model multivalued treatments
o estimators when the treatment is endogenous

The discussion of estimators that handle an endogenously assigned treatment
includes extended regression model (ERM) estimators, which can also
account for other complications in observational data such as endogenous
sample selection and endogenous regressors.

All topics are discussed using a combination of theory and Stata examples.

Nick Carnes
Full Day, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Westin, Montréal D

This invitational daylong mini-conference in honor of the retirement of Christopher H. Achen will be open to 30 former PhD students and will feature original research presentations from more than a dozen scholars.

David Samuels
Full Day, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Westin, Viger

This is an invitation only event.

This proposed workshop will invite four junior scholars working on issues related to the origins, processes, and outcomes of democratization. These topics could also include research related to democratic consolidation and authoritarian stability. The goal of the workshop is to improve the work of promising junior scholars working on research in this field. Selection to the workshop will be based on a call sent out by the Democracy and Autocracy section in March. In addition to selecting the papers, the section will match each of the selected scholars with a discussant dedicated to their paper. The sessions for each scholar will last approximately 1.5 hours and will include the other discussants and junior scholars. The section chair, David Samuels, and program chair, Paul Schuler will serve on the selection committee. They will also match the selected junior scholars with appropriate discussants. The Democracy and Autocracy section will provide funds to help defray the costs of attendance for the selected scholars.

See Research and Development Group page for more information. 

David Samuels
Half Day, 1:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Westin, Palais

This is an invitation only event.

The workshop will provide an opportunity for graduate students to receive critical feedback, participate in the APSA annual meeting, and develop scholarly networks with colleagues. Prior to the start of the annual meeting, workshop participants will attend a one-day seminar on September 14 to discuss and receive critical feedback on a paper. Papers will be circulated in advance of the seminar to allow time for thorough reading by all participants and discussants.

See Research and Development Group page for more information. 

Willem Maas & Beth Whitaker
Full Day, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Westin, Ville-Marie A & B

This is an invite only event.

This dissertation workshop welcomes proposals from PhD candidates working on any aspect of citizenship and/or migration, such as those highlighted by the APSA Migration and Citizenship Organized Section:

  • The local, national, transnational, international, and global politics of voluntary and forced migration, including political attitudes and orientations both towards and of all categories of migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, and economic, family, circular, business, high-skilled, and irregular migrants;
  • Immigration and emigration policies and laws, including the international relations, international political economy, and political philosophy aspects of such policies and laws;
  • Immigrant integration and refugee resettlement policies and their implementation, including immigrant and refugee civic engagement, political incorporation, and citizen-making;
  • Border and security studies as well as studies on intranational, regional, transnational, and international cooperation on the management and control of migration;
  • The changing meanings and practices of citizenship, including the relationship between citizenship and identity, gender, multiculturalism, race and ethnicity, racism and xenophobia, human rights, indigenous peoples, empires and imperialism, civic engagement, transnationality, welfare, and public policy;
  • The relationship between citizenship and transformations in or political contestation of sovereignty and political community, including state formation or disintegration, nationalism, sovereignty or secession movements, language, ethnic or other minorities, the politics of diaspora mobilization (including conflicts, democratization, voting, and economic development), and subnational, supranational (e.g., European Union), multilevel, corporate, or global citizenship;
  • The politics of nationality and citizenship (and the distinctions between them), including the moral and empirical rights and obligations attached to citizenship, comparative or historical nationality law, statelessness, and policies and practices concerning the acquisition and loss of nationality through such procedures as naturalization and expatriation as well as dual or multiple citizenship.

Megan Turnbull & Azeez Olaniyan
Full Day, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Westin, St Sulpice

This is an invite only event.

Political violence has become one of the forces reconfiguring the trajectories, geographies, nature, and economies of countries around the world. As brought to the fore by the 9/11 attacks and responses to it, politically-driven violence can assume grim dimension, and can also change the ways of the world in many ramifications. Also, as evidenced in the refugee crises in the recent times, the brunt of political violence could be borne by society that may not even be directly involved in it. Political violence is all-encompassing, including a variegated issues such as terrorism, genocide, occupation, invasion, torture, capital punishment, police brutality, rebellion, insurrection, electoral violence, coup d’état, wrongful imprisonment, illegal detention, forced eviction, rioting, revolution, mass killings, civil war, counter-insurgency, denial of statehood, exclusion and even denial of citizenship. Despite growing interconnectedness of the world and ascendancy of democratic ideals in the world, political violence continues to be a recurring decimal, with debilitating effects on peace, security, and the economy. The rampancy and debilitating effects of political violence makes it a compelling area of research focus by researchers in the humanities and social sciences. But researching political violence, and writing dissertation on it on it, could be challenging. This dissertation completion workshop seeks to improve the skills of graduate students in identifying and unpacking challenges associated with dissertation writing on all areas of political violence. It seeks to shed more light on the nature and forms of contemporary political violence and how to go about researching them for the purpose of writing good dissertation. In essence, the workshop sets out to take students through the mills of report writing to doctoral students in furthering the quality of their dissertation on political violence.

Michelle Weitzel
Half Day, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Palais des congrés de Montréal, 522A

This year’s workshop focuses on ethnography in theoretical and empirical studies of belonging and migration. Scholars at any stage of their research are welcome to attend.

Political Theory and Ethnographic Methods
Dr. Yuna Blajer de la Garza, Loyola University Chicago

Within political science, ethnographic methods are typically listed among the tools of empirical scholars. But what kind of analytical possibilities are opened by deploying ethnographic methods in normative political theory? In the workshop part of the Methods Studio, Dr. Yuna Blajer de la Garza (Assistant Professor, Loyola University Chicago) will speak to the ways in which ethnographic methods and an interpretive sensibility can serve political theory research. In particular, she will discuss the richness provided by ethnographic methods for the study of democracies and democratic theory. Ethnographic methods carve space for scholars to understand the ways in which the institutions and ideas we have imagined are (mis)translated when appropriated by ordinary citizens. Making sense of that (mis)translation can help us elucidate the ways in which democratic promises have fallen short to the expectations of those who call democracies home, and the reasons behind the disenchantment of many ordinary people with democratic institutions, a disenchantment that haunts our current historical moment.

Dr. Blajer de la Garza is a political theorist studying inequalities and oppression in democratic societies by focusing on the interactions between formal political institutions, the ideals that undergird them, and everyday practices and norms. In her first book manuscript, provisionally titled A House Is Not A Home: Citizenship and Belonging in Contemporary Democracies, Blajer addresses the interplay between the institutional and the everyday by examining the tension between citizenship and belonging in 21st-century democracies through the figure of the citizen who does not belong. The manuscript draws from insights gleaned through ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Paris and Mexico City between 2015 and 2017. Mexico and France illustrate two incomplete pathways toward democratic belonging. France boasts a strong state with a reliable bureaucracy that secures legal rights, while Mexico’s is beset by corruption, inequality, and inefficiency. The literature on state strength and democratization would expect France to fare better than Mexico in guaranteeing the equal standing of its members—and thus their equal belonging. Counterintuitively, Blajer finds that not to be the case.

Ethnography and Empirical Studies
Dr. Osman Balkan, Swarthmore College

Part 2 of the workshop will focus on power and positionality in ethnographic research. Participants will reflect upon how their own multiple social positions inform their ethnographies, from shaping the questions they ask, to the communities they engage with, to the data they collect, and the stories they share. We will discuss strategies for planning and conducting immersive fieldwork and participant observation as well as different approaches to ethnographic writing.

Dr. Balkan’s research and teaching interests cohere around the politics of global migration, borders, race, ethnicity, identity, and necropolitics. His first monograph, Dying Abroad: The Political Afterlives of Migration in Europe, explores in detail how immigrant communities navigate end-of-life decisions in countries where they face structural barriers to full citizenship and equal social standing—a phenomenon Balkan terms “death out of place.” It argues that states, families, and religious communities all have a vested interest in the fate of dead bodies and illustrates how the quotidian practices attending the death and burial of minoritized groups in migratory settings are structured by deeper political questions about the meaning of home and homeland. Dying Abroad offers insight into the processes through which relations between authority, territory, and populations are managed at a transnational level.

Expert Panel: Current Research Questions
Alongside co-presenters Dr. Blajer de la Garza and Dr. Balkan, a panel of experts on Interpretive Methodologies and Methods will take questions from audience participants regarding interpretive methods questions in their ongoing projects. This will enable fruitful discussion and audience engagement from which all participants can benefit.

Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham
Half Day, 1:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Palais des congrés de Montréal, 513F

Civil conflict causes more death and destruction in the modern era than interstate conflict. Even after a settlement or another end to the conflict, serious challenges to peace persist. Often, as states, communities, and individuals seek to rebuild, the conflict recurs, or related conflicts erupt. In these contexts, scholars seek to understand how to stabilize and consolidate peace, including at times by conducting experiments. Experiments are increasingly used to better understand various aspects of civil conflict. In this short course, we will explore how to better apply this tool to this context.

A critical barrier to peace is often conflict recurrence after a settlement or other attempt to end fighting between sides. Recent work argues that studies on post-conflict contexts takes two different perspectives: a peace stabilization approach emphasizes special problems from civil conflict, including how to sustain peace agreements, while a peace consolidation approach emphasizes problems common to statebuilding, including how to reconstruct communities (Matanock 2021). Although more existing theory links stabilization programs with enduring peace, very few experiments examine them. Why have experiments on peace stabilization programs been so infrequent, and how can we improve this?

We will discuss a theoretical take on this: the peace stabilization perspective largely lacks experimental tests because, at least in part because it often theorizes about the effect of state-level institutional changes on entire groups beginning with elites. We will talk about how new studies from the peace stabilization perspective could examine elite perspectives and mechanisms of institutional change, which may be limited to lab-in-the-field or survey experiments, but these randomized can still advance our knowledge of how peacekeeping works. Changing norms in the field, alongside innovative partnerships, increasingly allow researchers to do experimental work in post-conflict contexts.
We will discuss the practical opportunities and challenges of implementing such experiments. Drawing on examples, likely in Guatemala, Liberia, and elsewhere, we will discuss how these projects were initiated, designed, and implemented. We will talk about directions forward.

Finally, we will discuss the ethics of these experiments. Post-conflict contexts in general, however, are difficult environments in which to work, and so experiments face three interrelated challenges: first, these contexts present special ethical challenges due to both the high stakes of peace and the sensitivity of subjects; second, these are complex treatments often conducted simultaneously by different actors, and these are treatments that depend on both institutional change and behavioral responses, so change is the constant in these contexts; and, third, these contexts also face heterogeneity in terms of programs but also contexts that mean the lessons may not travel even among post-conflict settings. However, careful experiments in post-conflict contexts hold promise for advancing our understanding of peace. 

We envision this as a half-day, three-part short course divided between the theory, the practice, and the ethics. We also hope to gather participants for a meal to share their experiences and plans.

Stacey Leigh Hunt
Half Day, 1:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Palais des congrés de Montréal, 522A

Pressured by the #MeToo movement, American political scientists have recently undertaken efforts to address sexual harassment in workplaces such as professional meetings and university departments. Field research methodologists have simultaneously explored a host of security threats faced by field researchers, offering advice on how to protect and prioritize personal safety in the field in the case of environmental disasters, civil war, or state persecution. Little has been said, however, of sexual harassment and assault experienced by political scientists during field research although there is strong evidence that some scholars are at acute risk. This short course will feature a series of facilitated discussions covering recent works in political science and related disciplines that have addressed experiences of sexual violence in the field. In particular, this course seeks to promote conversations and future publications regarding:

• the ubiquity and impact of experiences of sexual harassment and assault in the field
• presumptions of field researcher privilege
• methodological expectations for good field research and the promotion of risky behavior
• rape myths in field research methodology
• the role of emotions in field research
• intersectionality, multifaceted privilege and marginalization, and the relevance of race-sex-class to diverse research environments
• methodological innovations such as fieldwork teams,
• safety protocols for field researchers
• identifying existing and possible institutional resources, networks, and supports for field researchers experiencing sexual violence
• teaching field research methods
• the good-enough field researcher and privileging researcher safety and enjoyment

With an eye toward protecting and advancing pluralism among field researchers and the discipline at large, this short course aims to start a broader conversation about sexual harassment and assault during fieldwork by delineating the magnitude of the problem, investigating existing methodological assumptions and practices, and envisioning practices and policies to address it in the future.

Jan Henryk Pierskalla
Full Day, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Palais des congrés de Montréal, 522C

This is an invite only event.

The Political Economy (PE) organized section of the American Political Science Association is seeking applications from junior scholars for a pre-conference research workshop, held the Wednesday prior to the APSA annual meeting. Named in honor of former PE Section Chair Frances McCall Rosenbluth, the mentoring workshop aims to provide feedback on a specific paper as well as the broader research program of scholars underrepresented in the political economy field; in doing so, the section seeks to foster greater inclusivity and diversity within the PE community. Dimensions of diversity could include, among other things, race and ethnic identity; gender; non-R1 (“research intensive”) academic institutions; and home departments with little or no presence of other political economy scholars. The workshop is open to tenure-track, non-tenure track, post-docs, and advanced ABD candidates close to completing their Ph.D. dissertation.

Each junior scholar will be asked to present a working paper. We will pair each presenter with a senior PE scholar, sharing similar substantive interests. The senior scholar will offer constructive feedback on the manuscript and provide more generalized mentoring guidance during the workshop and the dinner that follows. Other workshop participants also will offer feedback and participate in the conversation about each paper. We will select three junior scholars. The Political Economy section will defray the costs of participation (lodging, meals, other workshop-related expenses) with a $650 travel grant for each paper presenter.

Sara Guenther
Half Day, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Palais des congrés de Montréal, 513F

In this workshop, Dr. Nathan Lee and Dr. Sara Guenther of CivicPulse will offer an overview of strategies and best practices for conducting surveys of local government officials. Topics covered will include challenges of collecting local government data, such as consolidating decentralized contact information for local government officials and maintaining the sustainability of the sample given a limited population. We will discuss common critiques of the data and offer suggestions for how to address them, including strategies for increasing response rates since incentives commonly used in surveys of other populations cannot be applied to surveys of local government officials. Finally, we will provide an overview of research services offered by CivicPulse and highlight where we see major opportunities for using survey data of local government officials to advance important questions related to politics, public policy, and public administration. Workshop participants will have the option to get direct feedback on prospective research designs and questionnaires.

Titus Alexander
Half Day, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Westin, Beaver Hall

Humanity’s biggest and most difficult problems are political: conflict, discrimination, inequality, global heating, environment, trade policy, you name it. Yet there are few opportunities for people to develop practical political understanding, strategies and skills.

This short course covers a range of tried and tested methods for teaching non-partisan, practical politics across the curriculum, including how to
• make the most of ‘teachable moments’
• create learning communities in a class or lecture programme, using peer induction, electing class representatives and devils’ advocates; setting up study buddies, huddles, buzz groups and action learning sets;
• tackle controversial issues constructively
• make the most of invited activists, politicians and practitioners
• base assignments on real-life tasks, projects or community service
• explore issues of power and exclusion
• use Solutions Focus and Systems Thinking in political problem solving
• present theories as stories, pictures and diagrams
• teach Theories of Change and how to plan and develop a campaign
• evaluate the impact of your course
This course is participative and informative, drawing on ‘Practical Politics: Lessons in Power and Democracy’ (2016, UCL IoE/Trentham) about how to teach democratic politics as well as four decades of experience in civic education, engagement and advocacy at a local, national and international level, as well as research into the impact of social science and evaluation of education. The author is a regular contributor to the World Forum for Democracy, hosted by the Council of Europe, and has published widely on deepening democracy, including Family Learning: The Foundation of Effective Education (Demos 1997), Citizenship Schools: A practical guide (2001), and Unravelling Global Apartheid: An overview of world politics (Polity/Blackwell’s, 1996). He runs an advanced apprenticeship in campaigning and leadership for trade unions in the UK, and founded Democracy Matters, an alliance for learning practical politics.
Participants will receive practical templates for learning and teaching, course notes and slides.
This course was fully subscribed at the 2021 conference in Seattle.

Sebastian Karcher
Half Day, 1:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Palais des congrés de Montréal, 513A

Research data management entails developing a data management plan and handling research materials systematically throughout the research lifecycle. Effectively managing data makes research more robust, allows data to be useful over a longer period of time, and facilitates sharing data with the broader research community. This short course equips participants with a range of strategies for effectively managing qualitative data. Hands-on exercises allow participants to practice basic data management tasks in the context of their own projects. The short course particularly emphasizes writing data management plans (DMPs), as required by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other funders and organizations, for research involving qualitative data. We also consider the benefits and challenges of sharing data and demonstrate appropriate techniques for mitigating them, again with the help of exercises and tools that participants will be able to use with their own research. Finally, the short course introduces and briefly discusses new techniques for making qualitative research more transparent, including developing interview methods appendices and tables, documenting analysis performed in qualitative data analysis (CAQDAS) software, and employing Annotation for Transparent Inquiry (ATI).

Drawing upon recommendations from the McClain Task Force Report on Systemic Inequalities in the Profession (2022), this short course will provide concrete strategies and best practices for addressing systemic barriers to equity and inclusivity in departments and the college/university setting. Presenters include former APSA president Paula D. McClain, of Duke University; Nadia Brown of Georgetown University, David Rasch, of University of California, Santa Barbara and the APSA Meeting Ombuds; and facilitators from the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI), who will provide training on Inclusive Leadership for faculty and graduate student attendees.

Jeffrey Paller
Full Day, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Palais des congrés de Montréal, 522B

The world faces an affordable housing crisis that threatens the lives and livelihoods of millions of people (World Economic Forum 2019). Only 13 percent of the world’s cities have affordable housing (UN HABITAT 2016), leaving an estimated 330 million people housing insecure or unable to pay housing bills (McKinsey Global Institute 2014). According to the UN, 23 percent of the global population lives in slums, or more than 1 billion people (UN Population Division 2018). This housing shortage does not just affect the Global South. Prices in many global cities are out of reach for ordinary people. New developments displace existing populations and do not consider the needs of the poor or middle class. These challenges place extreme pressure on governments to build new housing and for residents to remain in place. This global urban housing shortage has severe implications for politics, as residents make competing claims to urban space; politicians establish lucrative connections to developers but also networks and alliances with voters, and; communities mobilize to resist rapid change.

This short course examines the political implications of rapid urbanization and social change across the world. How do different governments across the world respond to urbanization? How do actors and institutions respond to pressure on urban space? Why do certain populations benefit from urban growth while others are left behind? What are the conditions under which urban growth leads to development? What are the relationships between local, regional, and national-level policymaking?

This course focuses specifically on political mobilization in cities. It uncovers the important actors operating in cities, as well as the diverse strategies that leaders use to mobilize followers. We interrogate concepts in political science that take unique forms in cities, including clientelism, populism, campaigns, collective action, everyday resistance, and institutional reform. The course also considers how social identities like ethnicity, race, class, and gender interact with political mobilization. Methodologically, we draw from a range of social science research strategies, including surveys, field experiments, interviews, and participant observation. Thematically, we advance important political perspectives on emerging policy debates around housing, urban development and renewal, infrastructure financing, and global connectivity.

We include papers that fit under the following research streams related to political mobilization in 21st century cities:

1. Institutions: Historical legacies, institutional development, and policy reform

2. Electoral mobilization: Campaigns, clientelism, and populism

3. Urban space: Infrastructure development, urban renewal, gentrification

4. Collective action: Protest, everyday resistance, collective decision-making

The short course will include a combination of papers, book talks, and thematic discussions. The course will end with a conversation about a possible special issue or edited volume.

Andrew Bennett
Jeffrey Checkel
Tasha Fairfield

Half Day, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Palais des congrés de Montréal, 513B

This short course will cover the underlying logic and best practices of process tracing, which is a within-case method of developing and testing causal explanations of individual cases.

We will briefly summarize the philosophy of science behind explanation via reference to hypothesized causal mechanisms and then outline the logic of process tracing, which entails asking whether the evidence we find in a case would be more or less plausible if a given explanation of that case is true as compared to a rival explanation. Throughout the session we will emphasize best practices and applications to exemplars of process tracing research. The examples we use will be primarily in international relations and comparative politics, but the methods we discuss are applicable to all the subfields of political science, to sociology, economics, history, business studies, public policy, and many other fields. Students will practice applying process tracing reasoning in small group exercises. As time allows, and depending on the numbers, students will discuss how they plan to use process tracing in their current research so the instructors and fellow students can offer constructive advice on how best to carry it out.

The course will also introduce the logic of Bayesian inference that underlies process tracing and overview key conceptual insights that can help us better evaluate the inferential import of qualitative evidence. Students interested in learning more about the Bayesian approach are encouraged to also take the ‘Bayesian Process Tracing’ short course led by Tasha Fairfield, which will be held in the afternoon of the same day as the present course. Students can benefit by taking either or both courses; we have designed the two short courses so that they complement each other.

Derek Beach
Half Day, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Palais des congrés de Montréal, 512G

The study of causal mechanisms is ubiquitous in the social sciences. Mechanism-focused research using in-depth case studies enables us to gain a better understanding of how things work and under what conditions using real-world cases instead of gaining knowledge about mean causal effects across cases based on experimentally manipulating treatments in controlled populations. However, the potential gains of mechanism-focused research have not been fully reaped in the social sciences because of the tendency to reduce mechanisms to counterfactuals which are then investigated using cross-case comparisons.

Inspired by recent developments in mechanism-focused research in medicine and policy evaluation (Clarke et al, 2014; Cartwright and Hardie, 2012), the first session of the course will discuss the standards developed in the natural sciences for what constitutes a ‘good’ mechanistic explanation (e.g. Craver and Darden, 2013), and how these can be translated into social science theorization. The second session will then present the developing standards in the natural sciences for what constitutes ‘good’ mechanistic evidence, and again how these can be translated into the social sciences. The final session discusses practical applications, including how mechanism-focused research can be used as an adjunct method to improve social science experiments in designing the experiment and interpreting the data.

Mahalley Allen
Half Day, 1:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Palais des congrés de Montréal, 512G

This short course is designed for both new and more advanced pre-law advisors and also faculty working with students interested in a legal career. Presenters will share their knowledge and experiences of pre-law advising and discuss a variety of topics, including the foundations and best practices of pre-law advising, LSAC resources and access to additional pre-law advisor resources, LSAT preparation considerations, and application components and timeline. Presenters will also share advising strategies to support first-generation students, low-income students, students of color, and undocumented students in the law school application process.

In this course, we hope to engage in conversation among pre-law advisors about how to best support students interested in a legal career. Further discussion topics may include: changes in the legal job market; financial decisions and paying for law school; undergraduate and law school experiential learning opportunities; pre-law advising in the context of undergraduate education; and pre-law advising conferences as a source of networking and knowledge; among other relevant topics surrounding pre-law advising and law school.

Pippa Norris
Full Day, 8:30 AM – 6:00 PM
Palais des congrés de Montréal, 515B & 515C

The roots of the contemporary crisis of confidence in the integrity of American elections can be traced back to heated controversies in Florida during the 2000 Bush v. Gore presidential election. This generated a growing research literature documenting issues of electoral fraud in America (Minnite 2010), legal challenges in voting wars (Hasen 2012), problems of voter suppression (Wang 2012), and why electoral integrity matters for democratic legitimacy, both in America and worldwide (Norris 2014).

Since then, however, scholarship has expanded dramatically as partisan disputes about the integrity of U.S. elections have become increasingly contentious, litigious, and polarized. A tidal wave of amendments to state electoral laws, documented by the Brennan Center and the NCSL, have sparked intense concern about their consequences for public opinion, voting behavior, and US democracy. The insurrection attacking the US Capital on Jan 6th highlighted the risks of fraying legitimacy sparking deadly violence, and the portents for the mid-term 2022 U.S. elections, their aftermath, and legacy for the 2024 presidential contest, appear deeply troubling.

The pre-APSA EIP workshop seeks to advance research, promote bi-partisan dialogue, and identify best practices in mitigating risks to electoral integrity in America.

This concept is broadly defined using the electoral cycle approach to cover all stages in the process, from electoral laws and electoral management through redistricting, voter, party and candidate registration, the role of money and misinformation during the primary and general election campaign, to the final stages of balloting, the vote count, post-election auditing, and the adjudication of electoral disputes and appeals.

To contribute towards public debate in the run up to the mid-term US elections, policy-relevant papers would be especially welcome which document and evaluate the impact of changes to US state electoral laws throughout all stages of the electoral cycle.

Multiple methods are welcome including studies using narrative case-studies, experimental designs, mass and expert panel surveys, systematic aggregate data comparing US states, and/or cross-national evidence drawing upon global experiences.

Papers are especially welcome which analyze the impact of legal and administrative changes concerning the impartiality of electoral officials, the protection of voting rights, the competitiveness of Congressional districts, the accuracy of electoral information, the security of the ballot, the integrity of the vote count, fair processes of dispute adjudication, and public confidence in the overall quality of American democracy.

For additional information visit: 

Elizabeth Meehan
Full Day, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Palais des congrés de Montréal, 512A

This is an invite only event.

In support of the APSA 2022 Meeting conference theme, “Rethink, Restructure, and Reconnect: Towards A Post-Pandemic Political Science,” Graduate Students in International Political Economy seeks to extend our existing virtual opportunities for junior IPE scholars by fostering in-person scholarly networks and by engaging in productive mentoring relationships to support their research. For this pre-conference workshop, we invite graduate students and post-docs to present research in progress on international political economy, broadly defined. We particularly welcome submissions from scholars who are underrepresented in IPE.

Workshop participants will have the opportunity to present their research and to receive in-depth feedback in small groups. At least five workshop participants will also receive a travel and/or caregiver grant to support their ability to attend APSA. Those who are interested in presenting research should submit a proposal no later than May 30, 2022 to GSIPE at Proposals should include an abstract (300 words), 3-5 key words to help us find discussants and create small panels, and a brief description of why you need travel grant funding, such as your institution not having a travel budget for graduate students (150 words).

All participants (junior scholars and discussants) will need to register for the main APSA meeting. Please contact GSIPE co-organizer Elizabeth Meehan,, with any questions.

Jean-Paul Gagnon
Half Day, 1:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Palais des congrés de Montréal, 514A

Following the 2022 ECPR Joint Sessions on the “science of democracy”, this 2022 APSA annual meeting pre-conference workshop will present & discuss leading statements from the “sciences of the democracies” (& cognates). Billed as “perhaps the most significant discussion on democracy ever published”, this burgeoning inquiry into the sciences of the democracies offers “strikingly original” philosophical, methodological, and institutional challenges to scholars who study democracy and democratization.

Lisa Anderson
Full Day, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Westin, St. Paul

How can advisors of doctoral students and early career researchers in political science ensure that their students and colleagues are best prepared for confronting the ethical dilemmas of research among communities under duress, including the very poor, forced migrants and other marginalized peoples, and in authoritarian settings often hostile to the research enterprise? Focusing on political science research in the Middle East and North Africa, this short course aims to discuss this question with PhD students and faculty advisors alike.

9:30am – 11:30am: Engaging Ethical Enquiry

This session will bring together PhD students who work in and on the MENA region to discuss the challenges they confront in accessing advice and guidance to ensure they respect and foster the integrity of the research enterprise. 

12:00pm – 2:00pm: Guiding Ethical Research and Promoting Best Practices for Research in MENA

This session will focus on supporting faculty advisors in developing strategies to better integrate ethical considerations in discussions of research questions, methods and sites. 

2:30pm – 4:30pm: The Research Enterprise in the Middle East and North Africa: Ethics and Advising

The plenary session will  examine the tentative findings of the earlier conversations and discuss dissemination strategies.

This short course is part of the Research Ethics in the Middle East and North Africa (REMENA) project, housed at the Middle East Institute at Columbia University. The project is dedicated to developing guidelines for the conduct of responsible, ethical and constructive social inquiry.

The REMENA project will cover the $25 APSA registration fee for select students who submit a short application through this form. If you are selected, please do not register through the APSA website. REMENA will register you to this course.