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Event Recording

In this talk, I will describe how political science researchers can take a problem-solving approach to orienting their work toward social issues. Drawing on a recent book chapter, I’ll discuss how empirical political scientists can look for and define problems, and the step-by-step process we go through (often in a series of studies), picking the right methodological tools to go from descriptive to causal analysis and intervention testing to find solutions. Along the way, the kinds of questions we ask are shaped by ethical concerns, the social value and practical considerations of potential interventions, and analytical precision. I’ll use examples from contemporary research and my own experience in field experiments to show how we think about going from problems to solutions.

Talk by:
Cyrus Samii, Associate Professor of Politics
New York University
Followed by an informal conversation with:
Anna Harvey, SSRC President

Cyrus Samii

Cyrus Samii is Associate Professor in the Wilf Family Department of Politics of New York University. He writes and teaches on quantitative social science methodology, with an emphasis on causal inference. He is a prominent expert on the design of quantitative field research and social science randomized controlled trials. His applied research has focused on testing strategies to address governance challenges in contexts affected by war. He has carried out field studies in sites across Africa, Asia, and Latin America in collaboration with partners including the World Bank, UN, USAID, UK Department for International Development, and Danish International Aid Agency. From 2019-2023 he was Executive Director of the Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP) network.

About the Lecture Series

For more than 100 years, the Social Science Research Council has mobilized policy-relevant social and behavioral science aimed at finding actionable solutions to pressing societal challenges. The Council’s College and University Fund for the Social Sciences is a network of nearly 50 research institutions that support our work to foster innovative and solutions-oriented social and behavioral science. In this virtual lecture series, faculty from College and University Fund member institutions share their work to understand how to pursue research that solves problems.

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