Institute of Education

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International Summer Schools 2017: A Fascinating Journey of Learning and Discovery

At the HSE Institute of Education, young scholars always strive to advance their competence and community integration by making out the best of the opportunities each summer’s learning & networking agenda affords. This year, IOE analysts Irina Shcheglova and Alexey Egorov took part in international summer schools for multidisciplinary social researchers held in St. Petersburg, Russia and Barcelona, Spain.

In a globalized world of fast-paced technological and social change, collaboration and interdisciplinarity are increasingly recognized as the key hallmarks of 21st century science, with various fields of knowledge getting inextricably interlinked and building on multilateral intelligence exchange. Contemporary educational research is also part and parcel of this ongoing academic integration, as it is actively embracing the latest advances in allied areas of social studies, big data, network science and other fields.  

Summertime is traditionally one of the best seasons for both early-career scholars and accomplished experts of various backgrounds and interests to gather together and share the precious moments of learning and debate as part of cross-border interdisciplinary summer schools. First of all, these events help boost one’s academic awareness and professional capacity through multifaceted exposures to best-practice approaches and applied developments in the select area of studies. What is more, summer schools are a great place for informal networking and conceptualizing future joint research projects.

The HSE Institute of Education is home to a vanguard cohort of resourceful young scholars who always aspire to advance their competence and foster community integration by making the utmost of each summer’s learning & networking agenda, both in-house and across the globe. This year, IOE analysts Irina Shcheglova and Alexey Egorov took part in international summer schools for multidisciplinary social researchers held in St. Petersburg, Russia and Barcelona, Spain.

Network Analysis: Exploring and Mapping Community Relationships

Set at the junction of data science and social studies, network analysis is a thriving research domain that aims to untangle and map out intricate hidden relationships that exist among individuals and organizational environments by exploring social networking data.      

In mid-July, IOE researcher Irina Shcheglova joined an international summer school on network analysis, held by the Centre for German and European Studies in St. Petersburg, Russia. The 2017 school primarily sought to give a comprehensive and accessible idea about core theoretical concepts underlying network analysis and frontline techniques for handling data and network modelling. Featuring a superb faculty of the world’s leading experts in qualitative and quantitative social research, communications and media, the event has seen broad participation by BA, MA and PhD students from Russia and abroad.

As part of the school’s captivating applied agenda, Dr. Adina Nerghes of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Dr. Ju-Sung Lee of Erasmus University Rotterdam delivered a series of workshops where the students got hands-on practice in using top-notch semantic analysis tools and specialized software, such as ORA and AutoMap. In a school section devoted to exponential random graph modeling, Dr. Johan Koskinen of Manchester University gave a seminar on the MPNet software tool – a most enthralling experience by the vast bulk of student feedback.      

The 2017 summer school has brought together students in a wide band of scholarship interests, their projects ranging from British healthcare staff appraisals to large-scale opinion surveys on global climate change. By gaining multiple insights beyond one’s specific field of academic pursuit, the students have acquired the most complete portrayal of how network analysis can otherwise apply in modern social studies, this unlocking a host of fresh perspectives on which multidisciplinary areas and approaches to consider in future research endeavors.   

The summer school was one of the best academic experiences she has had so far, Irina Shcheglova notes. In September 2017, Irina plans to deliver an open workshop at IOE where she will share what she has learned about today’s industry-standard semantic analysis software.

Semantic analysis focuses on links among words and topics within text corpora. Drawing on largely the same theoretical foundations and modelling principles as used in network analysis, semantic analysis is broadly applied in exploring text arrays on such electronic media as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as international political discourse, from pragma-linguistic and socio-cognitive standpoints.    
Irina Shcheglova, Analyst, IOE Centre for Higher Education Sociology


Educational Economics: Evaluating Human Capital Gains from Education Policy Upgrades

In 2017, Barcelona University’s Graduate School of Economics hosted its 11th Annual International Economics Summer School, one of the chief academic events that Spain’s number-one cosmopolitan city offers in summertime. This year, the venue mostly focused on human capital development and assessing economic effects from education policy and continuing learning. 

The 2017 school has enjoyed high and diverse student participation, with the enrollees representing bright and motivated young scholars in various socioeconomic areas from 14 nations. Instruction was given by renowned theory experts and top practitioners in economics and education policy, including Dr. Sandra McNally, Director of the Centre for Vocational Education Research at the London School of Economics and Professor in Economics at Surrey University, and Dr. Alvaro Choi, Associate Professor in Economics at Barcelona University.    

IOE researcher Alexey Egorov, who was travelling to Barcelona this July to take part in the event, is now into a large-scale study that aims to evaluate the impacts of regional education systems in Russia on socioeconomic gains across national communities. As part of the summer school, Alexey had a series of productive discussions of his project’s working paper with fellow participants. The advice and comments he has got will certainly help refine and finalize the paper’s structure and wording in line with international publication requirements, Alexey says.  

What I've liked best about the summer school is Sandra McNally’s course, which packs plain and cohesive coverage of an immense volume of relevant information on historical background and latest developments in educational economics within just as few as five lectures!
Also, it was enlightening to realize that for all the research done in the field since the early 1970s, assessing social and economic payoff from education still remains an area with a huge room for further investigation, and primarily as far as methodological issues of endogeneity are concerned. So, my fellows at the HSE Department of Economics and I are currently developing another alternative approach to coping with endogeneity in socioeconomic assessments of education.  
Alexey Egorov, Analyst, IOE Laboratory for University Development