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IPA Summerschool reflections



Toyah Rodhouse shares her story

The IPA summer school 2018 was great and fun way to get a thorough introduction to theories and methods within interpretive policy analysis, including the opportunity to practice newly gained skills in interpretive fieldwork. A definite added value of the summer school was the attention to self-reflexivity while conducting fieldwork: we were all surprised by how much our ‘objective’ observations and notes differed from each other! I think it’s important to realise that we as researchers ourselves carry quite some baggage in terms of our past backgrounds, experiences, beliefs and preferences, and that this becomes reflected in how and what we study.

Another big plus of the summer school was that each of the lectures was given by key scholars from within the international IPA community. This allowed us to learn from and question some of the critical thinkers and methodological experts in policy analysis. Personally, I particularly enjoyed the talks with the individual mentor that had been appointed to me during the summer school: the organisers had selected someone with knowledge of my particular research domain and I could discuss with her a challenge, struggle, or puzzle I had encountered while doing research. This helped me to translate the lessons learned in the summer school into concrete improvements for my PhD!

Toyah Rodhouse – PhD student Technical University Delft (NL)


Daniel Wiegant shares his story

“How we can make sense of differing meanings and frames in contested policy domains where multiple desired futures and expectations exist alongside each other?” Trying to find an answer to this question, was my main motivation to participate in last week’s Interpretive Policy Analysis summer school.

The summer school has helped to make me aware of how policies are inherently value-laden in the way they frame issues and solutions, and how practices express deeper meanings and interests. It was great to have lecturers and students from around the world to discuss discourse analysis, practice approaches and framing theory, and how these can make such deeper meanings and interests more explicit. Through interactive lectures and fieldwork in an informal area of Amsterdam, we played with the idea of how diverging policy perspectives are represented and debated, and how different approaches like citizen science can contribute to, or hamper, sustainable development pathways.

Daniel Wiegant – PhD student Wageningen University and Research (NL)