GESIS Training Courses

Scientific Coordination

Alisa Remizova
Tel: +49 221 47694-475

Administrative Coordination

Noemi Hartung

Sequence Analysis in the Social Sciences

Online via Zoom
General Topics:
Course Level:
Software used:
Students: 330 €
Academics: 495 €
Commercial: 990 €
Additional links
Lecturer(s): Marcel Raab, Emanuela Struffolino

About the lecturer - Marcel Raab

About the lecturer - Emanuela Struffolino

Course description

Please note that this workshop will be held on 16 - 17 October and 23-24 October! Please go to the schedule for more details.  
This workshop introduces sequence analysis for social science research. Sequence analysis, originally developed in biology to analyze strings of DNA, has attracted increasing attention in the social sciences to analyze longitudinal data. Most applications in the social sciences study life course processes, including labor market careers, transitions to adulthood, or family formation.
This workshop covers longitudinal data management (only briefly), basic techniques of sequence analysis, as well as recent methodological developments tailored to social science research questions. Topics include different ways of calculating distances between sequences, cluster analysis after sequence analysis, sequence visualization, techniques for analyzing sequences' multidimensionality, and the association between sequences' unfolding over time and independent variables. All methods are demonstrated with hands-on examples using R.
Organizational structure of the course
The course is structured around sessions of instructions and hands-on exercises. The hands-on sessions consist of assignments that aim at consolidating the content of the instruction session by applying them in R. During the hands-on sessions, the lecturers are available to address problems that might arise and answer questions, and they will discuss the solutions before moving to the next instructions session. If needed, separate virtual rooms will be used for 1:1 tutoring. During the instruction sessions, one of the lecturers is available in the chat. Further, lecturers will be available for individual consultations on participants' projects.

Target group

Participants will find the course useful if:
  • they work with longitudinal categorical data
  • they are interested in describing temporal patterns of social phenomena

  • Learning objectives

    By the end of the course participants will:
  • be able to conduct their own research by applying sequence analysis
  • know how to describe and visualize sequences with the powerful and flexible TraMineR package in R
  • know how to use the outcomes from sequence analysis (distance matrices, measures of turbulence and complexity) in further analyses (cluster analysis; regression analysis; discrepancy analysis; implicative statistic for sequences of typical states; sequence analysis multistate model procedure)

  • Prerequisites

  • basic knowledge in handling (longitudinal) data
  • basic knowledge of quantitative methods (e.g., regression analysis)
  • basic knowledge of R is strongly recommended (e.g., inspecting, visualizing, transforming your data, extracting values from a table, sub-setting tables, calculating summary statistics, and deriving new variables). For an introduction to the basics, you might consider consulting datacamp or the following primers by posit cloud (formerly RStudio Cloud): primer 1, primer 2, and primer 4.
    Software requirements
    The latest version of R and RStudio should be installed on participants' laptops. Shortly before the course, the lecturers will circulate further instructions.


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