Philip Leifeld


I am a political scientist at the University of Konstanz in Germany (postdoctoral fellow at the Zukunftskolleg and independent researcher at the Department of Politics and Public Administration). In Konstanz, I am heading the project group on "Advances in Discourse Network Analysis". I am also a postdoctoral researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), which is located in Dübendorf close to Zurich and belongs to the ETH domain, and a member of the Policy Analysis and Environmental Governance (PEGO) group at the Institute of Political Science, University of Bern, Switzerland.

My research is mainly about political networks and computational politics, with applications in public policy and in European and American politics. I developed a Java-based software called Discourse Network Analyzer (DNA) in order to analyze policy debates or political discourse among relevant political actors in a dynamic way, drawing upon methods of social network analysis.

My current activities include the further development of the methodology of discourse network analysis, the application of (temporal and cross-sectional) exponential random graph models (ERGM) to research questions in political science, the implementation of TERGMs in a package called xergm for the statistical computing environment R, the development of an R package called texreg for the conversion of statistical model output in R to LaTeX and HTML tables, and the analysis of policy networks in the European (and particularly Swiss) water sector.

I regularly teach in the POLNET summer school or fall academy (registration open to external participants who want to learn network analysis). In 2014, I taught two courses on network analysis at the MA and PhD level at Zeppelin University and the University of Konstanz, respectively. In the spring semester of 2015, I will teach a PhD course called "Research Design and Methods II: Network Analysis" at the University of Innsbruck in Austria.

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

Recent activities

New journal article

[2015-07-21] I have published a new paper on policy forums (with Manuel Fischer) in Policy Sciences. The title of the new paper is: "Policy Forums: Why do they Exist and what are they Used for?" We outline a theory on the existence, composition, and size of intermediary organizations like collaborative governance institutions, advisory committees, and corporatist organizations.

Most viewed article

[2015-07-06] My paper in Computational Social Networks on "Polarization of Coalitions in an Agent-Based Model of Political Discourse" has been the most viewed article since the journal's inception in 2013 with 1,140 downloads.

APSA award

[2015-06-20] I have won the APSA Award for the best paper in political networks by a faculty member in the last year at any polisci conference. I am receiving the award jointly with Skyler Cranmer for our paper: "A Theoretical and Empirical Comparison of the TERGM and the SAOM".