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 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 the PSPB with Anna Czarna, Magdalena Śmieja, Michael Dufner, and Peter Salovey. A postprint PDF of the article can be downloaded free of charge. The study is an innovative application of the TERGM to multi-group, multi-time-point networks and shows how narcissism leads to more, and emotional intelligence to fewer, friends among university students at first impression, while the relationships are reversed after some months. See also a press release by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology and another press release by the University of Glasgow. The paper is receiving news media coverage on BBC News, in the LA Times, and Maxim, among others. The lead author, Anna Czarna, received the best poster award at the European Personality Conference for our work.

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.

Tutorial on writing texreg extensions

[2016-08-25] People keep asking me how to write extensions for my R package texreg to work with their favorite statistical models. I have now written a detailed tutorial and posted it as an answer on stackoverflow. texreg serves to create LaTeX, ASCII, and HTML tables of statistical model output in R. Please contribute extensions and send me the code to make texreg even better!

New AJPS article

[2016-07-15] I have published a new paper with the title "Navigating the Range of Statistical Tools for Inferential Network Analysis" in the American Journal of Political Science. My co-authors are Skyler J. Cranmer, Scott D. McClurg, and Meredith Rolfe. An advance online access version is available for download.