Philip Leifeld
Philip Leifeld


I am a professor of comparative politics in the Department of Government at the University of Essex. 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 other venues, which are often open to external participants. In the past, I also taught at the University of Glasgow, University of Innsbruck, Zeppelin University, University of Konstanz, and University of Bern.

Before joining the University of Essex in 2019, I was a senior lecturer (2016-2018) and professor (2018-2019) of research methods at the University of Glasgow in the School of Social and Political Sciences. Until 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.

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