In addition to the mandatory training schools, we offer six workshops that are thematically tied to each WP. There will be two workshops organized per WP, which will be mandatory to the ESRs involved in that particular WP and optional to all of the other ESRs in the network. These workshops will focus on methods and techniques we consider of interest to our field, but which should not necessarily be part of the common knowledge of every ESR in empirical literary studies. Some of the workshops are focused on methodologies and techniques (e.g., eye-tracking methods; qualitative methods), others are focused on an object or context of study (e.g., the classroom, the reading group), others on text features and analytic techniques (e.g., foregrounding), or on a certain topic or theme (e.g., story literacy). As with the other activities, the workshops are also open to non-ELIT PhDs.

Workshop 1: Neurocognitive Models 
(in Month 26, duration 2-3 days, mandatory to ESRs in WP1)
  • Organizing institution: Freie University Berlin
  • Objectives: First, participants will be taught the general principles of (neuro)-cognitive modelling. Second, based on current models from the field of neurocognitive poetics, the participants learn quantitative and qualitative methods to describe the stimuli used in empirical research on literary reading. Finally, they will be guided on the way to construct testable hypotheses from neurocognitive models.
  • Content: Lectures and hands-on sessions on “General principles of cognitive modelling”, “Quantitative and qualitative methods of textual analysis”, “From model to hypothesis testing: Constructive and critical evaluation of current empirical work in the field of literary reading”
  • Methodology: Every participant has to study current theoretical cognitive models about literary reading and neurocognitive poetics. After a general introduction into cognitive modelling, current models will be critically analysed and compared. After learning more about different direct and indirect methods, participants should be able to perform a constructive and critical evaluation of current empirical work in the field of literary reading.
Workshop 2: Eyetracking and other Online Measurement
(in Month 36, duration 2-3 days, mandatory to ESRs in WP1)
  • Organizing institution: University of Warsaw
  • Objectives: An introduction to eyetracking as one important methodology to study reading, also in ecologically more valid contexts. The workshop offers a more fine-grained insight into eyetracking and possible combinations with other online methods like measuring electro-dermal activity or heart rate activity. Participants should learn to understand which cognitive and emotional processes could influence what kind of signal.
  • Content: Overview of different eyetracking measures and other online methods, presentation and critical evaluation of current empirical studies that use these methods: Eyetracking and Peripheral physiological measures (EMG, EDA, HR)
  • Methodology: The sessions are organized as a combination of (a) general introduction to theory and relevant empirical studies, (b) hands-on sessions with the equipment, and (c) introduction to data analyses. 
Workshop 3: Basics of Empirically Grounded Theory and Model Building
(in Month 22, duration 2-3 days, mandatory to ESRs in WP 2)
  • Organizing institution: VU University Amsterdam and IGEL – International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature
  • Objectives: To teach ESRs the basics of empirically grounded theory development and stimulate interdisciplinary collaboration. Participants will learn – through lectures and hands on sessions – how to (1) clarify theoretically relevant constructs; (2) trace historically the sources of relevant constructs in cognitive, psychological, and literary theory; (3) compare and contrast empirically grounded theories; and (4) examine the role of theory in establishing construct validity.
  • Content: Lectures and hands-on sessions on “The Transdisciplinary Principles Guiding Epistemic Coherence”; “The Basic Task of Construct Validation”; “The Fundamentals of Theory Development: Causal, Moderating, and Mediating Relationships”; “Assessing the Coherence of Quantitatively or Qualitatively Grounded Theories; “Model Articulation and Evaluation”; “A Crash Course in Complex Forms of Regression using R”; “Practicalities: Comparing Models and Reporting Results”
  • Methodology: Every participant must prepare for the training school by identifying two (or more) contrasting theories that purportedly “explain” the same phenomenon. During the training school they will be taught the principals of construct validation and theory articulation in lectures, and after each lecture they will need to apply what they just learned to their own research project. The participants will work in groups and each group will have a designated “mentor” from the ELIT community, who can help them with any pressing questions they have or brainstorm about how to develop their theoretical project further. At the end of the training school, participants should be able to assess aspects of their own theoretical models.
Workshop 4: Foregrounding
(in Month 38, duration 2-3 days, mandatory to ESRs in WP 2)
  • Organizing institution: University of Basel
  • Objectives: A central assumption of many (if not all) disciplines in the humanities is that style matters: the way content is presented determines to a large extend how it is perceived and what the effects may be on recipients. The workshop focuses on one particular category of stylistic qualities, that is, those aspects of a text that seem to deviate from ‘normal’ modes of representations; these deviating style figures are called “foregrounding” and are often considered a criterion for degree of literariness. We will concentrate on the theory and hypotheses related to foregrounding and examine the ways in which the alleged effects (e.g., attention, heightened awareness, changes in perception of the world outside the text or of self) can actually be put to the test. For this we combine methods of the Humanities (e.g., textual analyses) with methods of the social sciences (e.g., questionnaires, experiments, implicit behavioural measures).
  • Content: Introduction to the main theories on foregrounding and literariness (R. Jakobson, V. Slovskij, S. Fish, Miall/Kuiken). In addition, the ESRs will be familiarized with different instruments to capture foregrounding in the texts (stylometry, rhetorical figures) and in readers’ reactions (questionnaires, EEG (N400), qualitative studies).   
  • Methodology: Lectures will be used to present wider perspectives on the issues at hand, and to illustrate through paradigmatic examples, which in turn will be used as models for the hands-on sessions. Through the methodological sections ESRs will learn to recognize foregrounding features and to recognize and measure foregrounding effects in the reader’s reactions. 
Workshop 5: Story Literacy and Shared Reading
(in Month 32, duration 2-3 days, mandatory to ESRs in WP 3)
  • Organizing institution: Trnava University
  • Objectives: Two settings of shared reading will be targeted to understand the benefits of shared reading on literacy and on different measures of individual lives of participants (e.g., confidence, well-being, sense of community): classroom settings and shared reading group settings. Each participant of the workshop will learn how shared reading methods are used in different specific settings (in classroom and educational settings; in shared reading groups in prisons, rest homes, institutes for youth care, mental care homes, libraries) to suit their particular research objectives, and what research methods and measures are used to measure benefits of shared reading on literacy and on individual lives of participants.  
  • Content: Analyses of the relationship between literary reading, story literacy and well-being. Definition of a shared reading method and its application on different settings. Selection of quality literary texts for different participants of shared reading. Methods and measures of researching the effects of shared reading practice, and the aspects of the interaction between reader and texts and reading group that are responsible for these effects. 
  • Methodology: Lectures will provide an overview of shared reading methods, of criteria for selecting literary texts used for shared reading in different settings, the role of the coach / teacher, the opportunities provided for participants and the potential benefits to the individual lives of participants. Practical sessions will focus on discussions of examples of research (methods and measures) on shared reading and how to use research outcomes as a base to develop and run shared reading sessions tailored to the needs of different target groups of participants. 
Workshop 6: Reader-Oriented Literary Didactics
(in Month 35, duration 2-3 days, mandatory to ESRs in WP 3)
  • Organizing institution: University of Verona
  • Objectives: To reflect on what literary fiction might mean to adolescent readers and what they can gain from it for their social lives and for their personal development. 
  • Content: Didactics of literature is an umbrella term for different ways of conveying literature in the classroom: author-oriented, text-oriented, context- oriented, or reader-oriented. The workshop will focus on the reader-oriented way of teaching literature, which fosters personal development and thus will permit transfer of empirical research results of ELIT to the context of literary didactics.
  • Methodology: We will analyse different models of literature education and will in particular distinguish between interpretative and experiential approaches where the focus should be on the addressee of the text – such as the students. The ESRs will be familiarized with different surveys on literary education and with the newly introduced Teachers’ Approaches to Literature Education Questionnaire (Tale-Q).