Lugano, Switzerland

Quantitative Methods for Social Researchers

when 16 August 2022 - 20 August 2022
language English
duration 1 week
fee CHF 700

This workshop introduces students to quantitative research methods commonly used for the collection and analysis of social science data. Participants will learn how to distinguish between research paradigms and methods, formulate research questions, and analyse data using statistical tools.

The focus of this workshop is on tools dealing with many variables (multivariate analysis): building models with several variables and reducing complexity (data reduction). The focus is methodological, conceptual and practical, oriented towards the application of these tools to typical analysis problems in social research. Statistical tools are only useful and meaningful when they serve a research project, based on a well-defined theoretical framework (research question, research design, hypotheses) and good quality data.

Course leader

Eugène Horber is professor emeritus of methodology at the Department of political science and International relations, University of Geneva, as well as affiliated researcher at FORS.

Target group

Everyone who is interested; there are no formal requirement. Note that many workshops have some prerequisites.

The Summer School workshops are conceived for those who need to deepen and widen their methodological knowledge and skills for their work, research projects and (PhD) theses: students, junior and senior researchers, practitioners from academia and outside academia at any stage of their careers whenever the need for further training in methodology arises.

Course aim

At the end of the workshop, active participants should be able to

Design their own research project, based on a sound theoretical framework,
Understand and critically assess publications in their scientific field using statistical techniques
Apply the various statistical tools to their own research projects, within a well-designed and defined, theoretically grounded, as well as realistic (i.e. applicable) framework.
Goals of the workshop:

Stress the importance of embedding the use of statistical tools in a complete research process, from the initial research question, to data collection and analytics, as well as reporting the results.
Knowledge and practical skills with data and statistical software, as well as awareness of both the potential and the shortcomings and limitations (assumptions, pitfalls) of commonly used statistical tools.
Sound foundations of knowledge and skills with statistical tools applied to the Social Sciences for participants who had an introductory course in statistics and need to go beyond basics.
The various tools will be presented and discussed using numerous examples. Participants will then apply these tools in the context of their group projects. (Software used: IBM SPSS Statistics)

Part 1: Empirical Research Design

Defining a theoretical framework: Research question, research design, hypotheses
Data collection, different types of data and data collection (surveys, observational data, administrative data, experimental data)
Assessing validity and reliability
Publishing research findings
Statistics and social research; the role of computer software
Part 2: Statistics

Describe and diagnose categorical and continuous variables
Study bivariate relationships: Crosstabulations and association; tables of means and simple analysis of variance; scatterplots and bivariate regression
Sampling, statistical inference and statistical tests
Multiple linear regression; regression assumptions and diagnosis; analysis of residuals
Linear Regression with categorical variables
Logistic regression and other regression types (overview)
Unidimensional scaling: Likkert, Guttman, ...
Multidimensional scaling: Principal component analytics, factor analysis

To optimize your learning experience you are advised to attend the free 2-day Statistics/SPSS preliminary workshop as well.

Before attending the workshop, you should read some introductory text to social research and basic statistical concepts. Some References and Advice here

Credits info

The Summer School cannot grant credits. We only deliver a Certificate of attendance, i.e. we certify your

If you consider using Summer School workshops to obtain credits (ECTS), you will have to investigate at your home institution (contact the person/institute responsible for your degree) to find out whether they recognize the Summer School, how many credits can be earned from a workshop/course with roughly 35 hours of teaching, no graded work, and no exams.

Make sure to investigate this matter before registering, if this is important to you.

Fee info

CHF 700: Reduced fee: 700 Swiss Francs per weekly workshop for students (requires proof of student status).

These fees includes also participation in one of the preliminary workshops (two-day workshop preceding the Summer School).
To qualify for the reduced fee, you are required to send a copy of an official document that certifies your current student status or a letter from your supervisor stating your actual position as a doctoral or postdoctoral student. Send this letter/document by e-mail to
CHF 1100: Normal fee: 1100 Swiss Francs per weekly workshop for all others.
These fees includes also participation in one of the preliminary workshops (two-day workshop preceding the Summer School).


As the Summer School is financed through participant’s fees alone and has no funds of its own, it cannot offer any scholarship, grants or financial aid.