CfA: 6th Winter School on Research Methodology in Social Sciences

Urban studies and spatial planning: research approaches and methods
17-18 January, 2019, Florence (Italy)

School of Architecture (Via della Mattonaia 8) and Complesso le Murate (Via dell’Agnolo)

A network of scholars from a number of Italian universities, engaged with doctoral courses, have voluntarily set up a PhD learning project on research methodology in the field of planning and urban studies. This is a sort of “research methodology school” that offers graduate students, PhD candidates, young academics and scholars affiliated with doctoral programs the opportunity to interactively build learning and training paths in research methodology.

The contents of the 6 th Winter School

Academic Publishing and Writing
(Francesco Chiodelli, Gran Sasso Science Institute, and Stefano Moroni, Polytechnic University of Milan) The first part of the workshop “Academic writing”) aims to present PhD students with a series of pointers that will serve as a template for formulating their thesis. The second part (“Academic publishing”) aims to introduce PhD students to the challenging world of publishing in international scientific journals.

Workshop 1
Introductory qualitative research methods
(Alessandro Coppola and Giulia Pezzi GSSI, L’aquila)
The workshop discusses how qualitative research methodologies can be applied to urban planning and urban studies research, walking the students through different methodologies for qualitative data collection. It introduces theoretical and applied orientations to qualitative research, fieldwork
strategies, (participant) observation and how to conduct interviews. At the end of the workshop a focus group exercise will allow students to test some of the acquired skills.

Workshop 2
Assembling cities. A mixed-method empirical methodology
(Laura Lieto, Federico II University of Naples, and Davide Ponzini, Polytechnic University of Milan) 
The workshop engages planning’s constitutive tension toward other discipline domains by looking at new materialism, actor-network theory and assemblage thinking. Its main purpose is to outline a relational understanding of the socio-materiality of city life and provide new theoretical and practical insights for planners, designers and policy-makers engaged in day-to-day challenges.

Workshop 3
Methods of policy analysis in territorial governance (Valeria Fedeli, Polytechnic University of Milan, and Umberto Janin Rivolin, Polytechnic University of Turin)
The workshop discusses how different methods for policy analysis can be employed in the field of territorial governance and spatial planning. First, it conceptualizes a system of territorial governance and introduces the main theories of policy analysis, with a focus on their methodological aspects. Then, it guides students towards framing research projects that use policy analysis in the field of territorial governance and spatial planning.

Research design
(Camilla Perrone, University of Florence, Laura Saija, University of Catania, and Francesco Lo Piccolo, University of Palermo)
This section explores under which conditions a knowing process can be considered “research” likely to generate meaningful ‘scientific’ knowledge. Since this is a contested terrain, participants will engage in an informed debate on the various ways in which a scholar can legitimately, both from an epistemological and an ethical point of view, identify a research question, select or develop research methods, carry-out data collection and analysis or interpretation, etc.

Pint of Research: Meet researchers at the pub!
Around 15 scholars will be available for a meeting held over a beer (a glass of wine or a soft drink). A list of available scholars and their research topics is available on the website of the Winter School 

Attendance and registration
The participation is free of charge.
Attendees from all countries are welcome. They are asked to register by 21 December 2018 on the website. Master degree is a basic requirement.
When registering at the Winter School, attendees are required to specify the following details: name, surname, affiliation, role; which workshop among No. 1, 2 and 3 they would like to attend; if they’ll join us for meals (two lunches and a social aperitif/light dinner); which researcher they would like to meet during “Pint of Research”.
The Winter School will be held in English and will provide students with 6 credits (to be agreed with the sending universities). Participants will also be given of an additional certificate of attendance of activities related to the “Complementary Skills”, issued by the IUSAFF (Istituto Universitario di Studi Superiori dell'Ateneo di Firenze) equivalent to 6 credits.
Participation grants are not available; for organizational reasons, the Winter School cannot provide any form of support (e.g. invitation letters) in order to obtain VISA.

More information is available on the website of the Winter School

Camilla Perrone ( ); Francesco Chiodelli ( );
Barbara Pizzo (

The Winter School is promoted by the University of Florence (Doctoral Program on Urban and Regional Planning, Doctoral School of Architecture), with the support of  Gran Sasso Science Institute (Doctoral Programme in Urban Studies and Regional Science) and the participation of a network of Italian universities: University of Florence, University of Cagliari, University of Catania, Gran Sasso Science Institute - L’Aquila, IUAV - Venice, Polytechnic University of Milan, Polytechnic University of Turin, Sapienza University of Rome, University of Roma Tre, University of Molise, University of Naples, University of Palermo, University of Sassari