Spring & Summer Schools

ReSPoS Summer School 2022 - CfA

Research Strategies in Policy Studies (ReSPoS) Summer School 2022 - 9th edition


Causality in Policy Studies - A Pluralist Toolbox


July 4-8, 2022
Room A
NASP Graduate School - University of Milan
Via Pace, 10 - Milan
and online


What is ReSPoS?

ReSPoS is a Summer School on research methods in policy studies. Deeply committed to methodological pluralism, ReSPoS introduces participants to different research strategies, elucidates their assumptions, and discusses their advantages and limitations. Besides, ReSPoS helps participants to develop their research projects and identify the empirical strategies that better suit their research questions.


● What will this edition be about?

How can we think and establish causality in policy research? Responses from the social sciences have long been diverse and seemingly contradictory. What produces an outcome can be either an observable or an unobservable process, a sequence or a configuration of occurrences, a universal or a local phenomenon – even limited to a single case at a special point in time. The commitment to selected assumptions tends to be offered as a consistent ontological position (an approach) that justifies the exclusive preference for a special set of tools (techniques). Pragmatic considerations on different analytical capacities and blind spots developed in Multi-Method Research often preserve the assumption of ontological diversity, but lay the findings open to doubts of inconsistency.

The 2022 edition of the ReSPoS Summer Schools contributes to bridging research traditions in policy studies as epistemic strategies to causation. It raises researchers' awareness about the criteria to establish causal relationships, the specific research design and data treatment that ensure credible results, and the effects of model specifications on the usability of findings.

Contents will be based on Damonte A., Negri F. (eds, forthcoming). Causality in Policy Studies - A Pluralist Toolbox, Springer Series "Texts in Quantitative Political Analysis", Cham (Switzerland): Springer Nature.


● Program

Monday, July 4

h. 12.30-16.00
» Opening Speech: The elephant of causation and the blind sages

Alessia Damonte, University of Milan
Fedra Negri, University of Milan-Bicocca
» Counterfactuals: experimental and quasi-experimental variation

Erich Battistin, University of Maryland
Marco Bertoni, University of Padua


Tuesday, July 5
h. 10.00-12.30
» Multilevel regression with post-stratification
Joseph Ornstein, University of Georgia

h. 13.30-16.00
» Correlation is not causation, yet... Matching and weighting for better counterfactuals
Fedra Negri, University of Milan-Bicocca


Wednesday, July 6
h. 10.00-12.30
» Testing sufficiency twice: explanatory QCA
Alessia Damonte, University of Milan
h. 13.30-15.30
» Causal inference and policy evaluation from case studies: Bayesian process tracing 
Andrew Bennett, Georgetown University


Thursday, July 7

h. 10.00-12.30
» Retrieving causal structures: directed acyclic graphs and SEMs
Leonce Röth, University of Cologne
h. 13.30-16.00
» Opening the black box of social causation: Agent-Based Models
Federico Bianchi, University of Milan
Flaminio Squazzoni, University of Milan


Friday, July 8
h. 10.00-13.30
» The many threats from heterogeneity that can spoil multimethod research
Derek Beach, University of Aarhus
Markus Siewert, Technical University Munich
» Closure speech: Causation in the social realm
Daniel Little, University of Michigan-Dearborn


● Venue
Conditional on the pandemic situation, the School will take place at the NASP Graduate School (Room A - Via Pace 10, Milan) from July 4 to July 8. Lessons will be held in a blended format.


● Applications
The School welcomes applications from MA students, Ph.D. students, and post-doctoral researchers. Moreover, the School welcomes applications from practitioners and researchers from private and public organizations interested in policy studies.

Due to global uncertainties, physical attendance at the NASP Graduate School will be restricted to 25 selected participants.

Those wishing to attend in person will thus need to apply via a submission form.

If you wish to join the lectures at the NASP Graduate School and develop your project with our lecturers, please fill out this application form by May 31.

Online attendance will instead be open to anyone. To receive the link to the event, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  by June 30.


● Admission & Attendance

For physical attendance, admissions will be communicated one week after the application deadline (thus, on June 6). 
The School will certify the attendance. Preliminary reading materials will be distributed by the School to admitted candidates.


● Fees and services

Thanks to the financial support from our sponsors, the School is free of charge.


● Sponsorships

The ReSPoS School is a NASP (Network for the Advancement of Social and Political Sciences) project. 
It gratefully acknowledges the fundamental support from the Compagnia di San Paolo and CARIPLO Foundation.

The School has also been endorsed by the Standing Groups "Political Science & Public Policy" and "MetRiSP - Research Methods for Political Science" of the SISP - Società Italiana di Scienza Politica.


● Acting director

Fedra Negri (University of Milan-Bicocca)


● Scientific committee

Fedra Negri (University of Milan-Bicocca), Alessia Damonte, and Francesco Zucchini (University of Milan)


Coordinator of the Organizing Committee

Silvia Decadri (University of Milan)


● Further info

For any request, please contact:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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