Levente Littvay is a Research Professor at HUN-REN Centre for Social Sciences, a Hungarian Academy of Sciences Centre of Excellence. Formerly he was a Professor of Political Science at Central European University where he taught graduate courses in research design, applied statistics, electoral politics, voting behavior, political psychology, and American politics and remains affiliated with its Democracy Institute. He is the inaugural and only two-time recipient of CEU’s Teaching Award (2015 for methods-, and 2021 for online teaching). Received his MA and PhD in Political Science and an MS in Survey Research and Methodology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Taught numerous research methods workshops globally and online, and was one of the Academic Convenors of the European Consortium for Political Research Methods Schools (2015-21), is the founder of MethodsNET, presidium member of the Hungarian Political Science Association and head of Team Survey in Team Populism where he helped spawn the Leader Profile Series and the New Populism series with The Guardian and co-produces both the MethodsNET and Team Populism YouTube channels. He was a member of the European Social Survey’s Round 10 (2020-21) democracy and COVID19 module and CRONOS II Populism and Technocracy questionnaire design teams. Secured close to a million EUR in grants to conduct research on survey and quantitative methodology, twin and family studies, and the psychology of radicalism and populism. Awards include the 2022 Giovanni Sartori Prize for best article in the Italian Political Science Review, European University Institute’s Fernand Braudel Senior Research Fellowship (2019-20) and the Morton Deutsch Award for best 2017 article in Social Justice Research. He is also published in Political Analysis, The Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, Political Psychology, BMC Medical Research Methodology, and along with other medical journals, in Twin Research and Human Genetics where he is Associate Editor for Social Sciences. Books include Contemporary US Populism in Comparative Perspective with Kirk Hawkins in Cambridge University Press’s Elements Series and Multilevel Structural Equation Modeling with Bruno Castanho Silva and Constantin Manuel Bosancianu in SAGE’s QASS (little green book) series, which was also published in Chinese.

Research & Impact

Current Research Agenda:

    1. Improve accessibility & appropriate use of mainly multilevel & structural equation models.
    2. Advance research on populist polarization, namely the measurement & mitigation of partisan motivated democracy eroding policy preferences.
    3. Understand motivations underlying secessionist attitudes.

Impact Statement:

    1. In the past decade I have led one of the largest political science methods education centers that, during this time, was responsible for the training of around 10,000 participants. In 2021 I (co-)founded MethodsNET to advance pluralistic social science methods. I lead the development of the MethodsNET YouTube Channel.
    2. I am committed to producing publicly available data which lead to my participation in the European Election Study (mainly 2009), Comparative Study of Election Systems (contributing Hungary 2018 & Tunisia 2019), European Social Survey Wave 10 Democracy & COVID Questionnaire Design Teams. I also extended the Global Populism Database w/ US Governors data & lead the revival of the Hungarian Twin Registry and its extension into a population based research resource.
    3. Though my efforts in Team Populism, I helped improve public understandings of populism, spawning our YouTube channel, the Leader Profile Series (with online training program) and The Guardian’s 84 article New Populism series. Based on my research, I proposed and designed the most visited piece in the series: “How Populist Are You?” (with over 1.5 million views).


Workshops: (1) Social Science Research Design, (2) AI/LLM Life Skills for Academics, (3) Survey Research Methods, (4) Measurement in the Social Sciences, (5) Logic of Causal Inference (Intro to Impact Evaluation), (6) Intro to Experimental Social Science, (7) Intro to Stats, (8) Data Theory & Literacy, (9) Data Visualization Basics, (10) R, (11) Introduction to Regression (OLS, Assumptions, Logistic), (12) Regression 2 (GLM, Weights, Clusters / Voting Behavior Methods), (13) Advanced Topics in Regressions, (14) Multilevel Modeling, (15) Structural Equation Modeling, (16) Advanced Topics in Structural Equation Modeling, (17) Multilevel Structural Equation Modeling, (18) Latent Variable Models, (19) Mplus, (20) Missing Data. Retired Workshops: (21) Ecological Inference, (22) Introduction to Categorical Data Analysis, (23) Multivariate Statistics. In preparation: (24) Introduction to Quantitative Text Analysis. (25) Introduction to Machine Learning.

I always struggled with math, so I had to develop understandings and intuitions that ran parallel to the painstakingly acquired mathematical understandings of quantitative methods. This made me an effective educator of advanced topics to non-mathematical social science or policy audiences. In my teaching, I focus on theory, design, and effective communication and emphasize understanding both math and software applications while rejecting point-and-click or code, copy-and-paste solutions.

Methodological Applications

Design effective studies and apply the appropriate methodologies to real life problems in the world of policy, science and beyond. Produce studies that allow for causal inference to maximize effective resources use.

Tools used include randomized experiments, counterfactual program evaluation and other applications of quasi-experimental designs for causal inference, survey design and analysis, nonresponse correction, structural equation and multilevel models, and general foundations in the philosophy of science.


More on AI Literature Reviews in the Social Sciences.

Recently I needed to throw together an overview of the literature for a specific topic. The application was, surprisingly, non-scientific. People who work in the actual world of politics asked me what the literature says about a certain topic. This gave me another opportunity to test AI tools and their capabilities, especially since the topic …

It’s Not Just Trump

You can find the replication information HERE for the Public Opinion Quarterly Article “It’s Not Just Trump” by Levente Littvay, Jennifer McCoy, and Gábor Simonovits. You will find two files here: one replicating the analysis with the Americas Barometer (AB_rep.zip) and one for the original data collection Orig_Data_rep.zip. In the latter, you will find two …

Can AI write literature reviews for social science articles? Nope. Not yet.

(Updated October 17, 2023 – still not yet.) I invested a decent amount of time over the past weeks trying to figure out if there’s a good workflow to follow on AI-assisted article discovery, systematization, and literature review writing for social science academic work. TL;DR: Nope! I did this by writing a piece where I …