Methodology Seminar Series

Leading social scientists consider cutting-edge quantitative and qualitative methodologies, analyse the logic underpinning an array of approaches to empirical enquiry, and discuss the practicalities of carrying out research in a variety of different contexts.

Seminars are on Thursdays from 16:15- 17:45  and most will take place in the PhD Academy LRB 4.02 (4th floor of the Lionel Robbins Building - Please see here for a map of the LSE).

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If you would like further information on the seminars, please email

PhD students and staff across the LSE are welcome to attend.


Emmilie-AvelingWhat is the role of individual accountability in patient safety? Insights from an ethnographic study of hospitals in diverse settings
Speaker: Dr Emmilie Aveling, Visiting Scientist (2015-2017), Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Research Fellow, Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester
Venue: KSW 1.04
Thursday 3 December 2015

In healthcare, demands for individuals, organisations and policy-makers to be accountable have become a standard trope in response to concerns about the quality and safety of care that patients receive (Francis 2013). But converting aspirations for accountability into concrete form is far from straightforward. One particularly fraught area of debate is how to distribute responsibility between organizational systems and individual professionals. The early phase of the patient safety movement was dominated by the view that error was not the result of individual failing, but rather a ‘systems’ problem – thus the focus should be on re-engineering systems rather than blaming individuals (Leape, et al., 2000). More recently, this so-called “systems” approach has been argued to result in an unwarranted, misguided and risky attribution of all responsibility for safety to systems (Wachter & Pronovost, 2009). A “just culture” rather than a no-blame approach is now increasingly advocated (Wachter, 2013). Yet current prescriptions for the making of judgements to support a just culture draw upon only a limited evidence-base (empirical and theoretical) and tend to be prescriptive and mechanistic. This talk presents findings from ethnographic case studies of hospitals in the UK and Africa to offer an empirically informed, normatively oriented account of the role – and limits – of personal and professional accountability in assuring the quality and safety of healthcare.

andew_wallace"When you were here before the place looked like Beirut. It's much worse now". Myths and absences in an interrupted urban ethnography.
Dr Andrew Wallace, Academic Fellow in Urban Sociology, School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds
Venue: LRB 4.02
Date: Thursday 10 December 2015

There will be drinks at the end of each talk.

Please click here to see details of previous seminars.