LCSR Summer School on ‘Introduction to Factorial Design and Data Visualisation with R’
As the 5th LCSR Summer School on ‘Introduction to Factorial Design and Data Visualisation with R’ came to a close on August 3, participants commented on their experience and shared their impressions.
The majority assume that summer school provides an opportunity not only to present work, share ideas and get insightful feedback from the experts but also become closer to them, meet new people and exchange contacts for future collaboration in the scientific field. LCSR`s associate researches and students of the Master's Programme in Comparative Social Research also provided their opinions about the event.
Eduard Ponarin (LCSR Head and Professor at HSE St Petersburg’s School of Social Sciences and Humanities)
During this year’s Laboratory for Comparative Social Research summer school, the fifth held to date, participants learned factorial experimental design, which is a technique that involves manipulating experimental variables so that rather than using all the possible combinations of variables, they use part of them, while also retaining the ability to come to reliable conclusions about the relationship between dependent and experimental variables.
This approach significantly reduces the time and effort involved in experiments, which are becoming an increasingly popular method applied in the social sciences. The Laboratory for Comparative Social Research is also developing experiments, and uses this approach in certain projects. This course was taught by Hermann Duelmer (University of Cologne).
Boris Sokolov gave a lecture on data visualization using language R. R is used in St Petersburg section of the laboratory and is almost never used in the Moscow section. This is an overarching tool for statistical analysis that is distinguished by its powerful graphic capabilities.
In what has become a traditional feature of the summer school, Academic Supervisor at the Laboratory, Ronald F. Inglehart, shared his thoughts on comparative research in a lecture on happiness in Russia. Other guest speakers included Bogdan Boicu (Romania), Joshua Dubrow (Poland), Mohammed Moheddin (Qatar), Neil Nichols and Pat Dowden (US).
This summer school saw increased involvement from students training at the Laboratory, and those announcing their projects, and slightly reduced involvement from Laboratory researchers.
Hermann Duelmer (University of Cologne)
I really like summer schools already for the reason that you can meet a lot of people who have common interests. Thus, you can discuss different things on different levels, which is sometimes difficult to do if there are only students. Another thing is that people who came to LCSR Summer School were much more motivated. For instance, when we discussed the proposals for the Factorial Design course, which should have been made in several days, I was fascinated with the results. The participants grasped the material quite fast. On the last session they managed to present already well-done projects, namely, examples of possible surveys with vignettes.
Bogdan Voicu (Romanian Academy of Sciences)
It is not my first time here and my impression about LCSR Summer School-2015 is the same, which I used to have. It is only the location that changed and some of the people. But otherwise, that is good and nice atmosphere; people that are interested in sociology and friendly to discuss the ideas with each other. I made a presentation “Attitudes towards emigration. A Quantitative Approach” and received useful comments. I already made some changes in the presentation after the conversation.
Mohammed Mohieddin (Doha International Family Institute)
Since I did not know much about “R” I thought that as scholar and as professor I couldn’t let go with this opportunity to know about the new technique of the research. So I decided to come to Moscow to attend the course. Firstly, I can say that the course in R was an eyes-opener to me and I benefited a lot from attending it. However, I would like to see more hands on approach. What I mean is that if there has been a research where we could do it more concretely, I think it would have been even much more useful for the participants. So, my next step is to apply these new techniques in my own research. Secondly, I have not been to Moscow since 1978, when it was the USSR. So, as a sociologist I wanted to see the changes that occurred in the society over this long period of time, almost 40 years. I was really impressed by the development of the city and infrastructure and want to visit the city again. I already submitted my abstract for the LCSR November Conference, which has to do with measuring social exclusion of families in the Arab world. So I will be coming back in November when the weather is going to be completely different from now.
Telegdy Balazs (University of Bucharest, Doctoral School of Sociology)
I work as an assistant teacher in my university and I teach the basics of methodology. I came to the LCSR Summer School to know more about R-program and share this knowledge with my students then. Moreover, there is a movement in the world now for the free software usage and it is efficient to know how to apply R in the research. Thus, the course 'Data visualization in R' was of my prime interest and it was totally useful for me to take this course here. In conclusion, I would like to express my great impression about the Laboratory because everybody here is so interactive and helpful.
Kareem Khan (student of the International Master's Programme in Comparative Social Research)
The summer school on 'Factorial Design and Data Visualization with R' helped me much more than I expected when I applied for it. This was the first time I have ever participated in such program and it was wonderful. Factorial Design course helped me to get a good insight into a new method which I might use at some point in my future research. The course on data visualization in R was more of a revision for me but the course covered a variety of topics, which helped me explore new areas in data visualization. Apart from that, the summer school demonstrated a great chance to network with other researchers who have more experience in the field. Moreover, I had an excellent opportunity to interact with professors, which helped me to understand my research interest from a different perspective.
Kirill Makarov (new student of the International Master's Programme in Comparative Social Research)
My impression about LCSR Summer School-2015 is absolutely positive. The keynote lecturer professor Hermann Duelmer gave us the opportunity to get familiar with new method of Factorial Design. The lecture of additional course Boris Sokolov showed us the advanced methods of data visualization in R. All this knowledge can be applied in the future studies. Also, the lecture by professor Ronald Inglehart 'Subjective Well-being and Societal Collapse: the Case of Russia' was of the particular interest to me. Generally speaking, it was nice to meet with the staff of the Laboratory, as well as the current students of the master's programme in Comparative Social Research.
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