The Cross-National Studies: Interdisciplinary Research and Training Program– CONSIRT expresses the long and productive collaboration of faculty and graduate students at The Ohio State University (OSU) and at the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) dating back to the early 1990s and the Across Nations Project. In 2008, as CONSIRT widened the scope of our activities to engage more disciplines and include undergraduate students in research and training, and to strengthen our international network of scholars, OSU President E. Gordon Gee and PAN President Michał Kleiber formalized the OSU-PAN cooperation. The Departments of Sociology and of Political Science at OSU, and the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology and the Graduate School for Social Research at PAN, established CONSIRT within the framework of this Agreement. This agreement was renewed in 2013.
The mission in CONSIRT is threefold. First, CONSIRT stimulates and facilitates inter-disciplinary cross-national research to overcome the shortcomings of fragmented methodology of comparative research. Substantive issues of global importance – such as poverty, forms of inequality, health and well-being, large-scale migration, industrial competitiveness, economic crises, access to energy resources, the formulation and implementation of welfare policies, commercialization of art and culture, and the quality of life – require cross-national and interdisciplinary research. CONSIRT aims to develop creative methodologies that (a) recognize elements common across disciplines, and (b) allow for the expertise of specific disciplines to further scientific knowledge. Interdisciplinary collaboration on the national and international levels facilitates this endeavor.
Second, CONSIRT is devoted to enhancing the educational and professional training of graduate and undergraduate students. To prepare a new generation of specialists in cross-national research, CONSIRT provides courses, workshops and seminars that integrate quantitative and qualitative methodologies, engage students in learning-through-research and strengthens their complementary skills, such as grant writing, editorial experience, and team work.
Third, CONSIRT promotes active networking of institutions and scholars from across academic fields and different countries. In addition to continuing the strong involvement of OSU alumni in CONSIRT activities, CONSIRT collaborates with scholars from around the world to produce high-quality cross-national research with clear theoretical and practical contributions to the social sciences.
CONSIRT is a comprehensive, interdisciplinary program that integrates diverse methodological approaches to cross-national research.
Academics and businesses involved in cross-national research encounter four major problems: (a) weak data comparability, (b) insufficient harmonization of data, (c) inadequate integration of quantitative and qualitative data, (d) weak implementation of the latest technology in cross-national data collection and comparative analysis.
To address these problems, CONSIRT developed the following research agenda:
(1) Harmonization of Cross-national Survey and Contextual Data: Innovations in Research and Methods
(2) Beyond the Case Study: Interdisciplinary Cross-national Methodology
(3) Best Practices in Using and Presenting Mixed Methods Research: Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Data Analysis
(4) Numerical, Textual and Graphic Data for Cross-National Analysis
CONSIRT’s strategic focus on methodology in quantitative and qualitative research fosters high-quality scientific products with clear theoretical and practical contributions.
CONSIRT serves scholars at all steps of the research process, from research design to data collection, through data analysis, to the dissemination of results.
Our latest endeavor, CONSIRT Labs, creates innovative solutions to complex problems in the social sciences. Labs are a physical and virtual platform that brings together an international network of scholars to produce high quality research and training products. Through inter-institutional cost-sharing, CONSIRT Labs are rich in experience, diverse in ideas and cost effective.
Data harmonization is a key focus of CONSIRT’s activities, including CONSIRT Labs. The Harmonization Project is Big Data: it uses 22 international survey projects to create an integrated data file and relational database of 1,720 country-survey-waves that cover 140 countries or territories and about 2.3 million respondents from 1966 to 2014. Funded by Poland’s National Science Centre, and with financial support from the OSU Mershon Center, CONSIRT has presented the Harmonization Project’s methodological innovations to faculty and students at OSU and PAN and at conference sessions of major international professional associations in the U.S. and Europe. To build on this project, CONSIRT is working with OSU’s Mershon Center on writing a National Science Foundation grant.
Kazimierz Maciek Slomczynski, Director, together with Irina Tomescu-Dubrow, Program Manager, and Dr. Joshua Kjerulf Dubrow, Project and Labs Coordinator, develop, manage and coordinate CONSIRT activities, in line with the requests and the professional advice of the Steering Committee.
 The Across Nations Project was organized at the beginning of the 1990s by OSU Professors J. Craig Jenkins, Edward Crenshaw, and Kazimierz M. Slomczynski in collaboration with PAN. The main purpose of it was to guide graduate students in their research involving cross-national data (cf. Jenkins and Slomczynski 2004). The project resulted in a set of articles that were published in six special issues of the International Journal of Sociology, IJS.