Summer School 2017

Course Objective

Political scientists and other researchers in the social sciences must often build and analyse datasets in the course of their work, which requires the use of tools, methods and processes they are usually not familiar with. This week-long summer school aims to introduce students and scholars to the techniques and practices required to build datasets for social science research (politics in particular) through classroom sessions and practical modules taught jointly by computer scientists and social scientists.

The summer school will cover various aspects of data-based research, including data gathering, cleaning, management, analysis, and visualization. Working with map-based data and the challenges of combining quantitative and qualitative data will also be discussed.

Under the mentorship of the instructors, participants will identify and work on their own mini-project during the summer school. They will work in teams to carry out data gathering, cleaning, analysis, visualization, etc., and learn to apply the tools and practices discussed in the classroom sessions. By the end of the week, participants are expected to have built a cohesive dataset and gained skills in working with data for social science research.

Instructors

Aafaque Raza Khan is a former Young India Fellow from Ashoka University. He is now with the Inter-University Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), where he is the lead engineer for the Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope onboard Aditya L-1, the first Indian space mission to study the Sun.

Alexandre Chevallier joined the CDSP (Center for socio-political data, Sciences Po and national centre for scientific research) in November 2014. He is skilled in Python (Django), Javascript and several frameworks based upon it, visualization tools, and database management.

Chinmay Narayan was until recently an assistant professor of computer science at Ashoka University, and Research Fellow at the Trivedi Center for Political Data. He has a PhD in computer science from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.

Francesca Jensenius is a Senior Research Fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI). She has a PhD in political science from the UC Berkeley. Before starting at Berkeley, she pursued studies in political science and Hindi at Duke University, Delhi University and the University of Oslo.

Gilles Verniers is a professor of political science at Ashoka University and co-director of the Trivedi centre for political data. His interests span a range of issues in the politics of South Asia, and he has published several research and press articles about these topics.

Jérémy Richard joined the CDSP in 2012 as an apprentice during his master degree in system and network administration. He has built the whole system infrastructure dedicated to Research at Sciences Po and is now an experienced DevOps professional.

Neelanjan Sircar is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi. He is also a Non-Resident Fellow at the Center for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests include Indian political economy and comparative political behaviour with an eye to Bayesian statistics, causal inference, social network analysis, and game theory.

Rajkamal Singh is a Research Fellow at the Trivedi Center for Political Data, where he manages several projects, including the development of a comprehensive dataset for Indian elections. He has an undergraduate degree in engineering and is an incoming PhD student in political science at UC, Santa Barbara.

Sudheendra Hangal is a professor of practice in Computer Science at Ashoka University, where he also co-directs the Trivedi Center for Political Data. His research spans the areas of human-computer interaction, social data analysis and personal digital archives.

Program and Resources

Introduction and kickoff – Sudheendra Hangal and Gilles Verniers

Overview of data sources on Indian politics – Francesca Jensenius and Gilles Verniers

Methods for building datasetsFrancesca Jensenius

Open data and data formatsSudheendra Hangal

Introduction to building your own datasetRajkamal Singh

Technical Module I: Data scraping – Alexandre Chevallier and Jeremy Richard

Technical Module II: Introduction to parsing and analysing data – Chinmay Narayan and Sudheendra Hangal

Technical Module III: Techniques for data management – Sudheendra Hangal and Chinmay Narayan

Technical Module IV: Data visualization – Alexandre Chevallier and Jeremy Richard

How to build maps (QGIS) – Aafaque Raza Khan

Mixing quantitative and qualitative data – Gilles Verniers and Neelanjan Sircar