Open Workshop by Prof. Lars Johannsen: How do you find a black cat in a dark room? Using triangulation and experimental methods to show light on dark figures in social science

The aim of the Open Workshop Series in Business and Management Studies is to promote top-quality academic and applied research in various fields of the social sciences. This is a unique opportunity for sharing knowledge and networking with local and international community members.

15:00 - 17:00 Friday 25/05/2018

SSE Riga, Strelnieku 4a, Room 507

Speaker: Lars Johannsen, Ph.D., Department of Political Science, Aarhus University, Denmark

Dark (or hidden) figures is perhaps best known from criminology where it is oft used to describe the number of unreported crime, crime that is unknown to all parties and/or crime that is not recognized as crime. Dark figures are, however, not restricted to criminology but are common across all disciplines of social sciences: Economics, sociology, political science and/or psychology – and it is no less true with respect to issues such as corruption and undeclared work and income.

In methodological terms dark figures not only questions the reliability of our measures but the very validity inflicting serious damage to theoretical and empirical model construct and not least policy advice.  To use the analogy from the course title: how do you know it is a cat, that it is black and not a panther? This workshop propose that methodological triangulation and survey experimental methods holds promise to improve empirical research – that is to give you a flashlight.

With a backdrop on methodological triangulation with respect to research on corruption, the workshop will demonstrate how randomized experimental methods is of use to propose new avenues of research as well corroborate or correct our prior understanding of corruption. The workshop will in particular draw on examples of corruption research with respect to the Latvia and the two other Baltic states.

The aim of the workshop is to improve your understanding of the promises and pitfalls of different methodological approaches and have a particular emphasis on the exploring the contribution of experimental methods. Furthermore, the workshop is interactive in sense that all participants will themselves participate in ‘stylized’ survey experiments with an emphasis on learning how to design experiments for future research within their own area of study.


Lars Johannsen (Ph.D.) is associate professor in international relations/comparative politics at the Department of Political Science, Aarhus University. Throughout his career, he has been a strong believer in methodological pluralism and triangulation, and demonstrated the use of quantitative and qualitative methods – not least how to combine them. In the later years, he has taken an interest in turning text analysis into quantitative measures by the use of CAQDAS techniques and how to embed experiments in opinion surveys.

His research centers on issues of political development, state capacity and corruption. Recent publications include “New Public Governance in the Baltic States: Perspectives and pitfalls” (fc. In Public Performance and Management Review with Karin H. Pedersen), “Recent Developments in Democracy in Slovenia (Problems of Post-Communism, with Alenka Krašovec), “Where and How You Sit: How Civil Servants View Citizens’ Participation” (Administration & Society, with Karin H. Pedersen). 

Discussion moderated by Dr. Arnis Sauka. Attendance is free of charge.

Please sign up for the seminar, writing to arnis.sauka@sseriga.edu by May 23, 2018.

Workshop is supported by the National Research Program 5.2 EKOSOC - LV

The aim of the SSE Riga Open Workshop Series is to:

  • to foster cooperation between business and management researchers, practitioners and policy makers, as well as
  • to promote academic and applied research in various fields of the social sciences, focusing on but not limited to entrepreneurship, marketing, management, public administration and strategy.

Organised by the Centre for Sustainable Business at SSE Riga.


Bookmark and Share
SSE Riga

Visit us

SSE Riga, Strēlnieku iela 4a