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PhD training Case Study and Comparative Methods

Every empirical research deals with at least one case. Choosing the right case and justifying your case study choice is one of the most important steps in any publication or dissertation. Getting this right will help you achieve a milestone in your research.

Target group
PhD candidate
Seda Gürkan  (Assistant professor)
Training course

The training will provide a summary of case study research with a focus on approaches to case selection and types of cases. We will discuss what a case is, different types of cases in the light of different ontological and epistemological approaches (positivism vs interpretivism), advantages and disadvantages of single case study design as well as different types of case selection. The training will also introduce different types of comparisons and discuss advantages/disadvantages of using case study vs comparative method. 

Aim of the training

The aim of this training is twofold:

  1. To explain what a researcher can achieve through case study (what is a case study and what is it good for and how to choose cases);
  2. To introduce different types of comparisons in social science studies and discuss how they relate to different research objectives/research questions. 

Reading list and details concerning various assignments will be shared with the participants who will register for this course one week before the start date.

The workload for this course amounts to 6 hrs (attendance: 3hrs; preparation/readings: 3hrs).  

Upon successful completion, participants will receive a certificate. 

Dr. Seda Gürkan is Assistant Professor of International Relations and European Studies at Leiden University’s Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA). Dr. Gürkan is a graduate of the London School of Economics (LSE), Université libre de Bruxelles and Diplomatic School of Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Dr. Gürkan ran the doctoral school at Université libre de Bruxelles for seven years (2015-2022), trained dozens of PhD candidates and gave several theory and methodology courses at (Executive) Master and doctoral levels, and through professional networks, such as UACES Doctoral Training Academy. She has been a member of PhD committees in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and UK. She is also team member of the MSCA Doctoral Network European Joint Doctorate Programme Gem-Diamond and Una Europa Doctoral Interdisciplinary Methods Training (DIMT) programme. Her teaching and research interests include EU foreign policy, autocratization processes in the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood and emotions in international relations. She currently leads a project investigating the role of emotions in EU foreign policy (EUMOTION) and she is involved in two Horizon Europe projects (2022-2025), Red-Spinel and Gem-Diamond, both dealing with the impact of the processes of autocratisation in the EU’s neighbouring countries on the EU’s foreign policy instruments. 

This workshop is free. In 2024-2025, ISGA will be running a series of pilot PhD training courses. During this period, there will be no fees for those courses.

For whom?

This course targets all PhD candidates who would like to deepen their knowledge on qualitative case study and comparative methods. 

This training is primarily organised for PhD candidates of the Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA), however there are limited spaces available for the PhD candidates’ of other Faculties on a first come, first serve basis. 


Please register via this form before 16 May 2024, and mention if you would like to attend the training online or in person.

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