Philip Leifeld


I am a Senior Lecturer in Research Methods at the University of Glasgow, where I serve as the Director of Postgraduate Research Training in the School of Social and Political Sciences. My disciplinary background is in political science and public policy, with a focus on research methodology and network science.

My research is mainly about political networks. I have published extensively on (environmental and social) policy networks, policy debates, and network methodology. In particular, I have analyzed information exchange, reputation formation, and the role of policy forums in policy networks. I spent my PhD figuring out how political discourse can be analyzed from a dynamic network perspective. To this end, I wrote the software Discourse Network Analyzer (DNA) and published my PhD thesis on Policy Debates as Dynamic Networks with Campus, a German press with international distribution through the University of Chicago Press. I also published a number of articles on political networks and related topics in peer-reviewed journals in political science (e.g., the American Journal of Political Science or the European Journal of Political Research), computational statistics (e.g., in Computational Social Networks or the Journal of Statistical Software), and in public administration (e.g., in the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory).

With regard to social science research methodology, I have developed and implemented new techniques (or extensions of existing techniques) for inferential network analysis, including dynamic extensions of the exponential random graph model (ERGM), such as the temporal exponential random graph model (TERGM) or the temporal network autocorrelation model (TNAM). I am the author of several software packages, including the Java-based qualitative text analysis package Discourse Network Analyzer (DNA), an R package for inferential network analysis called xergm, and texreg, a widely used R package for the presentation of statistical model output.

I regularly teach inferential network analysis in the ECPR Winter School for Methods and Techniques in Bamberg and at the Political Networks Conference. Both are open to external participants. In the past, I also taught courses at the University of Innsbruck, Zeppelin University, the University of Konstanz, and the University of Bern.

Before taking up my current position in 2016, I was a postdoctoral researcher at Eawag (the water research institute of ETH Domain in Zurich, also known as the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology) in the Department of Environmental Social Sciences (ESS) and the University of Bern (Institute of Political Science) as a member of the Policy Analysis and Environmental Governance (PEGO) group. I was also a postdoctoral fellow at the Zukunftskolleg, an institute for advanced study for junior researchers, with an affiliation as research group leader in the Department of Politics and Public Administration, at the University of Konstanz between 2011 and 2015.

After undergraduate studies at the University of Konstanz between 2002 and 2007, I received my doctoral training between 2007 and 2011 from the Research School of the Max Planck International Research Network on Aging (MaxNetAging), a consortium of 14 participating Max Planck Institutes. I did my coursework on aging research at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock, Germany from 2007 to 2008 and wrote my PhD thesis at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in Bonn from 2008 to 2011. I defended my dissertation at the University of Konstanz, Department of Politics and Public Administration, in December 2011.

Please take a look at my publications, teaching and software pages to learn more.

Recent activities

New BJPS Paper

[2017-12-09] New paper:

Malang, Thomas, Laurence Brandenberger and Philip Leifeld (2018): Networks and Social Influence in European Legislative Politics. British Journal of Political Science.

We analyze collective vetoes by national parliaments in the EU using a new inferential network analysis technique. We identify social influence among parliaments around party ideology using temporal permutations in a bipartite relational event model.

Best Oral Presentation

[2017-12-09] My co-author Gillian Fergie received the Award for the Best Oral Presentation for our joint paper "A Discourse Network Analysis of Minimum Unit Pricing for Alcohol: Mapping the Discursive Communities in UK Newspaper Coverage of the Debate" (with Shona Hilton and Ben Hawkins) at the 2017 Public Health Science Conference in London on 24 November. The meeting abstract was published in The Lancet.

ECPR Courses on Network Analysis

[2017-11-01] I will offer two network analysis courses at the ECPR Winter School 2018 (taking place in March):

Introduction to Discourse Network Analysis (DNA) and

Inferential Network Analysis.

Registration is open now.

Nature Climate Change

[2017-09-25] New paper:

Leifeld, Philip and Dana R. Fisher (2017): Membership Nominations in International Scientific Assessments. Nature Climate Change 7(10): 730-735.

In this paper, we analyze the network patterns by which members of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment recruited new members: through a snowball nomination system with a tendency to recruit experts through joint IO memberships, nationalities, and employers.