Hello, I Am
Sandra N. Morgenstern

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Teaching

I teach a variety of seminars around the topic of migration and quantitative research methods at the University of Mannheim. I am very grateful to have received the 2023 Sociology and Political Science Students‘ Teaching Award. In Fall 2023 I will present in the university-intern seminar series “Lunch & Learn – Good Practice Examples” by the Center for Teaching & Learning (ZLL), University of Mannheim, Germany. 

Seminars on Migration

– Gender Inequality & Migration in Europe and the European Neighbourhood, Seminar, Bachelor-level, University of Mannheim [2023]
– Field Research on Emigration in Developing Countries, Seminar, Bachelor-level, University of Mannheim [2021, 2022, 2023]
– Migration management in Europe, Seminar, Bachelor-level, University of Mannheim [2021]
– Migrationsmanagment in Europa seit der ‘Krise‘ (Migration Management in Europe after the ’crisis’), Seminar, Bachelor-level, University of Mannheim [2021] 

Quantitative Research Methods

– Experimental Designs in the Social Sciences, Doctoral level, University of Mannheim [2022, 2023]
– Guest lecture: Experimental Designs – an intuitive introduction, Master-level, Science Po, Paris [2023]
– Cross Sectional Data Analysis (MLE in Stata & R), Master- & Doctoral-level, University of Mannheim [2020, 2021, 2022, 2023] 
– Multivariate Verfahren (Multivariate Analysis), Bachelor-level, University of Mannheim [2020]

@Uni MA Students

If you are interested in any of the seminar topics or my research, please do not hesitate to contact me. I will be happy to provide you with literature and/or feedback on your work. I am also regularly looking for research assistants if you are interested in gaining hands-on research experience.

Teaching project

I received funding for Innovative digital teaching at the University of Mannheim from the Foundation of Innovative University teaching and created short-videos about what I call ‘advanced academic practices’. The videos were created together with three great student assistants: Janis Beginen, Emmy Stachelsheid Lopez, and Anna Pagani. The main goal was to address heterogeneity among students using a student friendly tool, short videos – allowing for repeated watching and pausing when needed. See for more information on the project website or the APSA preprint

Films

Learning objective - After watching the video, you should be able to read scientific texts (time) efficiently and effectively

Students - especially in the social sciences - must read many papers, books and manuscripts during their studies. It is therefore part of their implicit learning to read (time) efficiently while keeping it effective. This video provides tips on how to use different reading techniques depending on the purpose of the reading: reading for a term paper, for a presentation, for seminar discussion. In addition, the video presents some ideas on how to manage this knowledge for long-term efficient use.

Learning objective - After watching the video, you should be able to critically reflect on what you have read, and challenge implications derived from it

Being able to reflect critically upon any topic is one of the major skills a student learns at university. The video defines what critical thinking entails, its link to good thinking, but also describes when it is useful and needed to think critically and when not. It supports the thinking process with guiding questions for each part of critical thinking - description, analysis, evaluation- and supports with practical advice on how to apply it.

Learning objective - After watching the video, you should be able to identify uncertainties and weaknesses regarding internal and external validity in scientific texts.

Many students shy away from critiquing the work of fellow students or other researchers. The video shows that scientific criticism is an essential part of science to grow, describes its goals, and gives a definition of scientific criticism; especially its difference to critical reflection. In addition, the video recommends classic aspects to focus on and questions to ask when reading, and how these uncertainties and weaknesses that may be uncovered, are related to internal and external validity.

Learning objective - After watching the video, you should be able to understand what causality means in the research context.

For a major school of thought in the social sciences, causality is the foremost goal. In this video, students will learn the definition of causality, a directed causal relationship, and how it differs from association and correlation. The video introduces the two kinds of causality, the difference between sufficient and necessary conditions for a causal link, and hence, builds the basis for causal inference.

Learning objective - After watching the video, you should be able to understand how to methodically achieve causality (not, partially, completely).

The video introduces the fundamental problem of causality and how to work around this problem to still methodically draw a causal inference. It introduces the basic idea of experiments and the methodological adjustments that can be made when a full experiment is not ethical or feasible; e.g. longitudinal analysis, Cross Sectional data analysis, Control for addition factors / covariates in an OLS regression.

Learning objective - After watching the video, you should be able to distinguish the two types of research procedures in terms of theory and point out their core elements.

This video introduces the classic problems in theory building (that are encountered by students as well as established researchers). It explains how to make new contributions by building on theories and defines what a good theory is. The video explains the differences between inductive and deductive research and how this is linked and applied to theory building and theory testing.

Learning objective - After watching the video, you should understand the basic idea of causal graphs and be able to apply it to theory representation and theory reflection.

Causal graphs are graphical representations of a causal model. The video introduces the basics of causal graphs in a simple and understandable way. It defines some key concepts of DAGs (Directed Acyclic Graphs) and shows how to draw them. Using core examples of association between factors (causality, confounding, immorality), the video explains how causal graphs are useful and related to theory building and theory representation, as well as being a useful tool for reflecting on a theoretical model at hand.

Learning objective - After watching the video, you should understand the basic idea of how to use causal graphs in adequately translating a theory to an empirical model.

This video assumes that the listener already knows the basic idea and definitions of causal graphs / DAGs. The video shows how to use causal graphs to translate a theory into an empirical research design. It explains how to do this and the benefits of doing so, such as what to control for and what not to control for. Finally, this translation from a theory to an empirical model is presented with an application example.

Learning objective - After watching the video, you should be able to fully reflect on and critique scientific research in relation to ethics.

Ethical considerations have been a side-topic for way to long in the social sciences. It is important to reflect on the ethical components of one’s research; not only for experiments or field studies. This video provides reasons and developments of doing so and introduces some key topics to focus on in one’s ethical considerations: e.g., psychological, and physical harms, potential benefits, consent, incentives, deception.

Learning objective - After watching the video, you should be able to structure your term paper according to one central argument, as well as convincingly apply a theory corresponding to your argument and derive expectations from it.

This video is designed more as a preparation for writing a term paper. The core message is to structure the term paper along a central theoretical argument. This will help the reader to follow the paper and remember the key message. The video defines what a theoretical argument is, gives recommendations on how to find a theoretical argument, and finally shows how to write down your theoretical argument using different techniques, such as the "you say, I say" method or "detective-lawyer" thinking (plus, provides a checklist at the end).

Learning objective - After watching the video, you should understand the central idea of "Design Thinking" and be able to apply it to finding a research question.

Finding a research question is one of the main tasks students face each semester. After defining the requirements for a good research question, this video introduces a technique for finding innovative questions and topics from business and startups - Design Thinking - and how to apply it to finding a research question. At the end of the video, several techniques are presented to help you advance your ideas and organize your thoughts - these can be part of Design Thinking or used alone.

Learning objective - After watching the video, you should be able to outline the basic idea and components of open science and reflect the current state of this movement in academia.

This video introduces the idea and current (2022) state of Open Science to students. It shows different definitions, focuses on the different aspects of open science – open data, open source, open access, replicability and pre-registration, citizens sciences and OER (Open Educational Resources) and emphasizes the needs and reasons for its development. The video also describes its challenges and potential future steps to reach a more open and more transparency in science.

Learning objective - After watching the video, you should be able to appropriately question, criticize, and improve the research work of others, but also be able to accept criticism yourself.

Scientific criticism is an integral and valuable part of academic practice. However, many students (and researchers) find it difficult. In this video, we present some guidelines on how to give criticism in an appropriate way and how to receive criticism properly. In this video, we introduce three types of criticism: 1. a question of understanding (because you also need to learn from misunderstandings), 2. a comment on a potential challenge that might come up, 3. the kings’ class of giving feedback - noting a shortcoming and trying to offer a solution. Lastly, the video shares how to go about positive feedback.