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ResPos 2016 – Summer School on Research Strategies in Policy Studies, University of Genoa, June 28-July 1, 2016

The Network for the Advancement of Social and Political Studies (NASP) is organizing the fourth edition of ResPos, the Summer School on Research Strategies in Policy Studies. The Summer School will take place at the University of Genoa, from June 28 to July 1, 2016.

Observational studies are often regarded as a second-best to randomized experiments. Yet, policy studies often ask questions – i.e., on the performance of institutional designs, decision-making processes, or implementation structures – for which lab trials are simply infeasible. Are these studies doomed to deliver poor results? What special feature has made randomized control trials into a gold standard? Can we transpose that core into observational research? If so, is the core fitting any strategy, or is limited by special technical requisites instead? ReSPoS2016 gathers scholars from different research traditions to discuss whether, or under which conditions, observational studies can deliver sound results. During three days, participants will be presented with – and given the opportunity to challenge – positions from philosophy of science, standard evaluation studies, Bayesian process tracing, Qualitative Comparative Analysis, and Multi-Method Research. At the end of the course, they will have a map of the criteria for sound results – as well as a guide to choosing the strategy that better suits their research question.


Wednesday, June 29

  • Observations and scientific explanations
    Eleonora Montuschi (London School of Economics & Ca’ Foscari)
  • Quasi-experimental studies
    Erich Battistin (Queen Mary University of London & IRVAPP)

Thursday, June 30

  • Bayesian case studies
    Tasha Fairfield (London School of Economics)
  • Qualitative Comparative Analysis
    Alessia Damonte (Università degli Studi di Milano)

Friday, July 1

  • Multi-Method Research
    Ingo Rohlfing (Bremen International GS of Social Sciences)
  • Yes, but – A cautionary tale
    Isabelle Engeli (University of Bath)


The School will be hosted by the Università degli Studi di Genova, in its main building of Via Balbi 5 – a palace from the first half of the XVII century conveniently located at walking distance from the railway station of Genova Piazza Principe. Classes will be all held in the Aula Mazzini, 3rd floor.


The School welcomes applications from any interested major or graduate students, and researchers from private and public organizations. The deadline for application is April, 29. Applications are online only. Interested candidates can access the online formhere. The School can unfortunately accept no more than 25 students. Were the applications exceeding our capacity, preference will be given to candidates with some previous knowledge of policy studies and a proven interest in empirical research.

Admission & Attendance

Admissions will be communicated by e-mail only two weeks after the application deadline. The School will certify 24 hours of attendance. Candidates can inform the School administration of their interest in such certificate after admission. Further information about readings will follow admission, too.

Fees and services

Thanks to the financial support from our sponsors, the School is free of charges. We however regret for being unable to further help admitted candidates with their travel and stay costs.


The ReSPoS School is a project of the NASP (Network for the Advancement of Social and Political Sciences). It gratefully acknowledges the fundamental support from the Compagnia di San Paolo and Cariplo. The School has also been endorsed by the Standing Group “Political Science & Public Policy” of the SISP – Società Italiana di Scienza Politica.

Scientific committee

Giampiero Cama (University of Genoa), Alessia Damonte (University of Milan), Francesco Zucchini (University of Milan).

Organizing and teaching assistant

Fedra Negri

Further info

For any request, please contact this address.