The International Society for Empirical Studies of Literature (IGEL) is collaborating with the COST Action group E-READ to organize its first Training School in Empirical Methods for the Humanities. The Training School will be hosted by the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt am Main, Germany on the 22d until the 24th of September of this year.

I posted this on IGEL’s website in April of this year and it is also one of the reasons why I haven’t had the chance to post regularly. Every summer is busy because of conference season, that was no different this year. However, this year I also took on the organisation of IGEL’s first training school in their newly established training school program.

The aims of the Training School are to teach early career researchers coming from the Humanities the basics of empirical research methodology and to stimulate interdisciplinary collaboration. The participants will learn – through lectures and hands on sessions – to design and set up an experiment; to decide on measuring devices and statistical tests, to use statistical procedures to explore data and conduct basic inferential tests, and to report results. We hope to ‘lure them over to the dark side of empirical literary studies, where we have fancy methods and statistical tests to investigate literature and its effects’. I am putting it like this, as there are still a large number of people working in Humanities who are not convinced at all that we should do interdisciplinary work to further our research. We at IGEL are all about interdisciplinary research and in the future we hope to also organise training schools that will give psychologists and social scientists the tools to perform close readings and foregrounding analyses (amongst other things) of literary texts. In short, we hope to bridge the divide between disciplines and put IGEL on the map as ‘the place to be’ if you want to learn how to conduct empirical research on literature and other art forms, wherever you are coming from.

One part that I am especially proud of is the mentor system we have set up to support our training school program. We matched every participant to an experienced member of our IGEL community with similar research interests. That researcher will mentor the participant before the training school – providing guidance to the participant to further develop their research question and design – and after the training school – collaborating with the participant to conduct and report the experiment developed during the training school. We are very lucky at IGEL to have such a committed and passionate membership, because the response about this mentor program has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Many thanks to all who are participating. Let’s hope this training school will be a success and the first of many more to come! I am looking forward to it!

For those of you who are interested in the training school, but are unable to join us, the lectures will be live streamed. You can contact me at IGELboard@gmail.com if you would like to have access to the livestream. We will set up a twitter feed as well that will allow you to ask your questions and join in the discussion from afar! And if the timing just isn’t right, there is always the next training school! If you want to be kept informed, send us an email.

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