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EURODATA NewsletterNo. 3 Article 5

Comparative Research on Europe (RENCORE)

by Nigel Gilbert

ESA Research Network

Following a successful meeting of a working group at the European Sociological Association's Budapest conference in September 1995, it has been resolved to establish under the auspices of the ESA a network on methods of comparative research on Europe. The aim of the network is to encourage and enhance comparative empirical research of individual, national and institutional level data from the states of Western, Central and Eastern Europe.
This aim will be met through the following objectives:

1. The support and promotion of cross-national European research, both quantitative and qualitative.
2. The development of comparable indicators for comparative research.
3. The enhancement of information exchange between those who create and use cross-national datasets.
4. The refinement of methods for the analysis of data obtained from a number of European countries.
The network will act as a forum and channel for discussion and communication between those involved in cross-national European research, either as data collectors or as data analysts.

The activities of the network will include:

a. The organisation of meetings and workshops on topics related to comparative empirical research.

These will be held about once a year. The first workshop will be on the subject of "Asking questions across Europe" and will be concerned with formulating survey questions to yield answers which permit cross-national comparisons. It is proposed to hold this first meeting in October 1996. The second meeting will be held at the 1997 European Sociological Association's conference (venue yet to be decided).

b. The establishment of an email discussion list and WWW page. The email list will enable discussions between those in the network, and the WWW page will describe the network members, their interests and their research activities.

c. The organisation of scientific visits between members of the network.

A directory of opportunities for research visits (e.g. for sabbaticals, post-doctoral studies, exchanges and short visits) will be compiled. The directory will also list external sources of funding to support visits.

The network will be administered by a small Executive Committee who will stand for election every two years (at the ESA meeting). The network will be established by a small ad-hoc Committee consisting of Loek Halman (Netherlands), Peter Mohler (Germany), and Nigel Gilbert (UK). Membership of the network will initially be free, although a subscription may be levied once the network is well established. Potential members should write (or email) their application for membership to Nigel Gilbert, at the address below, explaining their involvement in comparative European research and listing relevant publications. Applications should include afull mail address, an email address, and telephone and fax numbers. All those who are engaged in European comparative research, where ever they may be working, are welcome to apply for membership of the Network.

Nigel Gilbert (Department of Sociology, University of Surrey, Guildford
GU2 5XH, England.
Phone: +44 1483 259173
Fax: +44 1483 306290

Peter Mohler (ZUMA, PO Box 122 155, D-68072 Mannheim, Germany.

Loek Halman (WORC, University of Tilburg, PO Box 90153, 5000 LE Tilburg, The Netherlands. E-mail: