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

PhD and postdoc opportunities

[2016-10-20] A number of PhD and postdoc fellowships are available under my supervision in Glasgow. These are funding schemes for which a professor and a candidate need to apply together. Please see the Teaching and supervision page for details. Contact me if you are interested, and we can discuss about these opportunities.

Sign up for my course on Inferential Network Analysis

[2016-10-12] I will teach an advanced course on "Inferential Network Analysis" at the ECPR Winter School for Methods and Techniques in Bamberg (Germany), taking place March 6-10, 2017. The course is open to any interested participants. Registration is open now. There is an early-bird discount until November 2, and some funding options are available. Please register for this course to get hands-on training on ERGMs, TERGMs, TNAM, REM, QAP, and other network models. Feel free to contact me with any questions about the course.

New publication in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

[2016-09-27] "Do narcissism and emotional intelligence win us friends? Modeling dynamics of peer popularity using inferential network analysis." This is the title of a new paper I have published in...


OUP chapter on DNA

[2016-09-04] I have published a chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Political Networks. The title of the paper is "Discourse Network Analysis: Policy Debates as Dynamic Networks." This contribution summarizes the state of the art on discourse networks. The chapter is now online at Oxford University Press.