One day workshop for doctoral students

Wednesday 26 February, at 9-12 hrs
House of Science and Letters (Tieteidentalo), Helsinki

The DocShop 2020 seeks to explore diverse meanings of data in Development Studies. In the current age of inequality, multiple unknowns and multiple insecurities, it is crucial to be able to engage the many meanings of data. The workshop will problematise conventional ideas of ‘data’, data gathering, and data analysis in transdisciplinary development studies research.

The DocShop aims at preparing doctoral candidates to engage with, problematise, and remodify the current emphasis on evidence-informed policy. Doing so is intended to enable doctoral candidates to provide more compelling diagnosis of social ’problems’, deconstruct and reconstruct existing approaches, understand complex  linkages between data gathering, data analysis, and cognate conceptual analysis, and confront the multifaceted ethical questions about data collection, analysis, and publication.

Free to all – doctoral candidates, faculty members, policy-makers, and the general public, the workshop will last half a day. The introduction will set the tone for the day, paving the way for a second section of trouble shooting characterised by an active Q and A session. This leads to the third and final session on what we mean by ‘data’ in our current age, characterised by multiple unknowns and multiple insecurities. Our emphasis will include how to carry out development, ‘scientifically’ solid development research, without losing sight of the politics of data.

The guests of honour at the workshop are Professors Dan Brockington (University of Sheffield, UK) and Anja Nygren (University of Helsinki, Finland). The workshop is organised by the FSDR with support from UniPID.

 If you are a doctoral candidate, travelling to the DocShop and Development Days from within Finland but outside of the metropolitan region, you can apply for a travel grant (max. 170 €) to cover your travel and accommodation costs during the conference. Deadline for applications is 13 February 2020.

Please send your application to Franklin Obeng-Odoom by email: franklin.obeng-odoom[at]

In the selection of the grantees, priority will be  given to PhD candidates, who in addition to DocShop, (a) will also participate in the Development Days 2020 Conference and (b) Have been accepted to and will present a paper in the Development Days 2020 Conference.

The purpose of the grant is to cover part of the travel and/or accommodation costs of the participants travelling from within Finland but outside of the metropolitan region. The maximum grant is 170 €. However,  the size of the grant depends on the total amount of eligible/priority applicants, the demonstrated needs of applicants, and  the quality of abstracts. Please note that only the most affordable transportation and basic accommodation can be considered as a basis for the estimate.

The grant will be paid by reimbursement on the basis of a travel claim supported by original receipts. The pre-filled travel claim forms will be given to the grantees in the event.

The application period will end on Thursday, 13 February. The outcome of the application will be announced by Wednesday,  19 February.

For inquiries, please contact: Franklin Obeng-Odoom, email: franklin.obeng-odoom[at]

Workshop Programme

9:00 – 9:15 am Opening Remarks
9:15 – 10:15 am Trouble Shooting
10:15 – 10:30 am Coffee break
10:30 – 11:50 am What we mean by Data in an Age of Multiple Unknowns
11:50 – 12 noon Closing Remarks 

Recommended Readings:

  • Jerven, Morten 2016. Africa by numbers: Reviewing the database approach to studying African economies. African Affairs 115(459): 342-358. DOI: 10.1093/afraf/adw006
  • Johnston, Deborah and Abreu, Alexandre 2016. The asset debates: How (not) to use asset indices to measure well-being and the middle class in Africa. African Affairs 115(460): 399-418. DOI: 10.1093/afraf/adw019
  • Brockington, Dan 2019. Persistent peasant poverty and assets. Exploring dynamics of new forms of wealth and poverty in Tanzania 1999–2018, The Journal of Peasant Studies, DOI: 10.1080/03066150.2019.1658081

If you cannot access these readings, please, contact Anja Nygren (anja.nygren[at] and she will send them to you by email.