Royce Carroll is a Professor in Comparative Politics at the University of Essex and Director of the Summer School. His research focuses on representation and legislative politics, as well as methods to analyse survey and voting data, attitudes, preferences and ideology. He has previously taught at Rice University. He is co-author of the scaling method textbook Analyzing Spatial Models of Choice and Judgment (2nd Ed. 2020), as well as many articles on related topics.
This course focuses on methods to discover, understand and visualize latent patterns in data and is especially suited to students with projects using survey data and other forms of relational data. The course introduces students to measurement theory and methods of scaling techniques, including Multidimensional Scaling, Item Response Theory, and Ideal Point Estimation. The first part of the course will provide an overview of the foundations of these techniques and introduce students to the most common methods for “spatial” analysis of survey and behavior data. The course will demonstrate how to interpret, measure and visualize latent dimensions of data via a variety of scaling methods using the open-source programming language R. The course will also discuss a range of applications these methods to social science studies of relational and perception data derived from elite behaviour and surveys. The course concludes with discussions of the most recent advances in the field, including applications for text analysis, and practical advice for those seeking to use such methods in social science research, relevant to the students enrolled.
The course first covers how to analyse data from scales found in surveys, focusing on surveys that ask respondents to place themselves and / or stimuli on issue or attribute scales. The course begins with approaches to scaling to generate bias-adjusted and latent spatial data from survey responses, such as the Aldrich-McKelvey scaling and ‘Basic Space’ scaling with Anchoring Vignettes as methods for addressing perceptual bias in the form of “Differential Item Functioning.” The course next examines similarities and dissimilarities data and covers multidimensional scaling (MDS) with a focus on the SMACOF optimization method implemented in R as well as Bayesian applications to Metric Multidimensional Scaling. Next, the course covers unfolding analysis of rating scale data from surveys such as favorability scales for stimuli such as politicians or social groups. Finally, the course provides extensive overview of IRT and ideal point estimation, generally focused on binary choice data, which includes those used in ‘roll call voting’ analysis of elite behavior in parliaments and courts. Here we will cover Poole and Rosenthal’s W-NOMINATE and Poole’s Optimal Classification unfolding method, as well as a variety of Bayesian analysis techniques for binary and ordinal choice data using Item Response Theory (IRT). An extensive range of Bayesian techniques are discussed, including Bayesian Aldrich-McKelvey Scaling, Ordinal and Dynamic Item Response Theory (IRT), Bayesian Multidimensional Scaling (MDS), and Bayesian Unfolding.
This course will enable students to derive latent spatial preference information and/or dimensional structure from various types of survey and behavior data, which is applicable to a wide range of social science applications, academic and non-academic alike. Consumers of research based on these methods will also benefit from a deeper understanding of this type of methodology, its potential and its limitations.
Data types covered:
- Survey Response Data
- Likert Scales
- Perceptual and Preferential Data
- Similarity Ratings
- Voting data
- Text Data
Analyzing spatial models of choice and judgment, 2nd Edition 2020
Author(s): Armstrong, D. A., Bakker, R., Carroll, R., Hare, C., Poole, K. T., & Rosenthal, H.; CRC Press. ISBN-13: 9781466517158
This book and other materials will be provided in digital form by the Summer School as part of your course material.
Students will learn to use various computational methods to generate relational measures of ideology and preferences and understand the latent dimensional properties of social science data. As these techniques are fundamental parts of much recent work in political science in particular, students will be able to better understand and produce this type of research
The course is designed to be accessible to social science graduate students of all backgrounds. However, students familiar with the R programming environment will find it easier to adapt to course content and assignments, so it is recommended to complete some preparation in the basic structure of R. In addition, basic the course assumes basic familiarity with general statistics.
Background knowledge required
OLS = elementary
Maximum Likelihood = elementary
R = elementary