Overview of CONSIRT Research

Publications: Edited Volumes, Monographs and Journal Articles

CONSIRT faculty and students have published extensively from CONSIRT-based research, some of which extends from the Across Nations Project.

CONSIRT research projects have led to over 30 publications in prestigious academic journals. Projects supported by CONSIRT have been published as articles in Journal of Urban Affairs, Party Politics, Electoral Studies, World Politics, European Socio- logical Review, Perspectives on European Politics and Societies, International Journal of Sociology, International Review of the Sociology of Sport, and Polish Sociological Review. In addition, 40 articles were published as chapters in edited volumes.

In recent years CONSIRT prepared nine special issues of the International Journal of Sociology. It also prepared a special issue of the leading Brazilian sociological journal, Sociologias, as well as a special issue of Studia Sociologia, a major sociological journal in Romania.

CONSIRT makes international collaboration with OSU and PAN faculty, students and alumni that leads to high quality publications a priority, and has a substantial track record in this regard. Within the last couple years, numerous PhD graduates from OSU Sociology and Political Science and PhD graduates from PAN have contributed to two guest edited issues of the International Journal of Sociology (2012 and 2013).

In 2014, the book Political Inequality in an Age of Democracy: Cross-national Perspectives (London: Routledge) edited by Joshua K. Dubrow, OSU alumnus and Project and Labs Coordinator of CONSIRT, featured three chapters by OSU alumni and one by OSU faculty.

OSU and PAN students and alumni have published in two other volumes – National and European? Polish Political Elite in Comparative Perspective (edited by Wlodzimierz Wesolowski, Kazimierz M. Slomczynski and Joshua K. Dubrow, 2010, Warsaw: IFiS Publishers), and Tożsamość, Zaufanie, Integracja (Identity, Trust, Integration, edited by Wlodzimierz Wesolowski and Kazimierz M. Slomczynski, 2012, Warsaw: IFiS Publishers). The book Continuity and Change in Social Life: Structural and Psychological Adjustment in Poland (edited by K. M. Slomczynski and Sandra T. Marquart-Pyatt, 2007, Warsaw: IFiS Publishers, an outlet of the Polish Academy of Sciences) features many OSU graduate students and alumni.

In cooperation with CONSIRT, the monograph Sociological Tools Measuring Occupations: New Classification and Scales, by Henryk Domański, Zbigniew Sawiński and K. M. Slomczynski introduced new software for panel data analysis (Warsaw: IFiS Publishers, 2009).

The Ohio State University Libraries and Polish Academy of Sciences co-Publish Ask: Research and Methods

In 2014, CONSIRT facilitated an agreement between The Ohio State University and the Polish Academy of Sciences to co-publish Ask: Research and Methods, an English language, international peer-reviewed social science methodology journal. Published annually since 1995 by the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology and indexed in leading bibliographic research databases (including ERIH, EBSCO and ProQuest), via the new agreement with The Ohio State University and a grant from the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, Ask: Research and Methods has become an open access journal. OSU alumni involved with CONSIRT are on the editorial staff and editorial board. Graduate students from OSU and Poland work under the guidance of CONSIRT faculty as assistants in the process of academic publishing in the social sciences. ASK has published leading methodologists from the USA, Poland, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and Brazil, among others. Forthcoming issues of ASK will feature CONSIRT-led work on data harmonization, cross-national methodology, and mixed methods research.

Standards for Cross-National Research

CONSIRT promotes high quality standards for interdisciplinary cross-national research. To this end, CONSIRT is developing guidelines on several issues that researchers and funding agencies have recently raised, namely:

(1)  Documentation of cross-national studies for secondary analysis;

(2)  Ethical considerations in cross-national research, including protection of human subjects;

(3)  Understanding the local (national) academic environment as a prerequisite for high-quality cross-national projects.

Promoting standards for cross-national research is explicit in our major endeavor on survey data harmonization in the social sciences, carried out jointly with the OSU Mershon Center within the Harmonization Project (dataharmonization.org), and funded by Poland’s National Science Centre. In the field of cross-national survey research, CONSIRT is doing groundbreaking work in developing a new theoretical approach to analyzing existing international survey projects. Our key idea is “data recycling.” In short, data recycling is both the process of controlling for project-specific limitations of the quality of data via quality control indicators, and the process of integrating existing surveys into a unified, harmonized dataset. In this harmonized dataset, recycling involves the use of three types of control indicators: the first type deals with the quality of the data documentation, a second type deals with quality of the source data, while a third type deals with the validity and reliability of the newly-created, harmonized variables.

CONSIRT prepares, as part of the Harmonization Project, the systematic assessment of the quality of the documentation for 22 selected international survey projects, and of the quality of the raw data themselves. In addition, the consistency of the questionnaires, codebooks and raw numerical data are assessed with respect to variable names and labels, and value labels. The goal is to make the resulting three types of quality control indicators available to the research community, to be used in substantive analyses.  Results are publicized through various outlets, including CONSIRT’s Working Paper Series and on CONSIRT Labs: Methodology of Survey Data Harmonization.

Data Collection and Analysis. Data Management

CONSIRT is strongly involved in gathering, analyzing and managing data relevant for cross-national and comparative studies.

Our flagship is the Harmonization Project. Substantively, this project taps into the wide interest that scholars and policy makers alike have in the relation between democracy and political engagement. Methodologically, it builds on the observation that social scientists have a growing wealth of social survey data that could answer many questions. Yet, the data are often not comparable or well documented. Regional specialization of international surveys severely hinders research pertaining to global issues.

The Harmonization Project uses data from 22 international survey projects, European Values Study (EVS), World Values Survey (WVS), International Social Survey Programme (ISSP), European Social Survey (ESS), Eurobarometer (EB) and its regional partial replications in Asia, Africa and Latin America, and specialized studies on political behavior and attitudes (see Appendix I), to create online accessible, comparable measurements of social values, action, and demographics with global coverage. The integrated data file covers 1,720 specific surveys and ca. 2,3 million respondents over the period 1966 to the first quarter of 2014. Initial funding for harmonization and quality assessment of the 22 survey projects comes from the Polish National Science Centre (grant number 2012/06/M/HS6/00322), and from the OSU Mershon Center for International Security Studies.

In addition, CONSIRT supports the project of adding new country-level variables to two international surveys: European Social Survey (ESS, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012) and Integrated and United (IntUne 2007, 2009) for multilevel modeling.

The Polish Panel Survey, POLPAN, conducted on a national sample of Polish citizens in five year waves beginning with 1988, represents a foundational data source for CONSIRT. Over the years, POLPAN has drawn the attention of both faculty and students, who have been actively involved at various stages of its planning and implementation. Many former and current OSU and PAN graduate students are among participants of conferences, workshops and seminars held in Warsaw and in Columbus (2013), and devoted to the design of POLPAN surveys and the use of longitudinal data.

CONSIRT provides its members with access to unique datasets on political elites in countries of Central and Eastern Europe. EAST PaC (electoralcontrol.org) data contain information on parliamentarians and candidates from the end of the Communist era to the most recent election. CONSIRT has also coordinated surveys of Polish parliamentarians on the topics of gender, representation and inequality in 2005, 2009 and 2011.

Conferences and Conference Sessions

CONSIRT has organized six international conferences that have brought together established and up-and-coming scholars across disciplines and countries. Altogether over 200 researchers attended these events, with more than 50 participants from OSU.

The most recent conference, Interdisciplinary Studies of Political Behavior: From Elections to Protests (Columbus, May 6-7,2014) is part of the Harmonization Project, and has been co-organized with the Mershon Center, also with the support of the OSU Department of Sociology and the OSU Polish Studies Initiative.

For a full list, see Conference and Conference Sessions.

CONSIRT Labs: Innovative Solutions for Complex Problems

In 2014, CONSIRT selected two major research and training projects to become CONSIRT Labs.

For more information, see CONSIRT Labs.

Recent Grant Applications for Research Projects

Currently, CONSIRT, together with the Research Team on Comparative Analysis of Social Inequalities at IFiS PAN, is involved and co-manages the following major grants from the (Polish) National Science Centre:

– Democratic Values and Protest Behavior: Data Harmonization, Measurement Comparability, and Multi-level Modeling in Cross-National Perspective. This grant is specifically for collaboration with the OSU Mershon Center for International Security Studies.

– Social Structure and Mobility: Polish Panel Survey, 1988-2013. This grant includes funds for international cooperation, including for participation of OSU faculty, graduate students and alumni in workshops and joint projects.

– Who Wins and Who Loses in Parliamentarian Elections? From Formal Theory to Empirical Analysis.This grant includes funds for international cooperation, including the participation of OSU faculty, graduate students and alumni in workshops and joint research.

– A New Approach to Analyses of the Relationship between Democracy and Trust: Comparing European Countries using Quantitative and Qualitative Methodology. This grant is specifically for collaboration with the OSU Mershon Center for International Security Studies.

Joint research efforts between CONSIRT faculty at OSU and IFiS PAN, and at other institutions around the world, have resulted in grants from the (US) National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, the American Council of Learned Societies, IREX, the Research Council of Norway, and Polish institutions: the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, the Committee for Scientific Research, and the National Science Centre. The OSU Mershon Center for International Security Studies, the OSU College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Polish Academy of Sciences have also supported CONSIRT projects. CONSIRT will continue to seek financial support, including at its founding institutions.


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