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Social Sciences Research Methods Programme course timetable

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Sun 5 Feb – Thu 16 Feb

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Monday 6 February

12:30
Qualitative Research Rigour (2 of 2) In progress 12:30 - 13:30 Corpus Christi, McCrum Theatre

Historically, qualitative research has been criticised for being less rigorous than quantitative research through not fulfilling quality standards such as objectivity, validity, and reliability. This leads to questions whether qualitative research can fulfil these specific markers of rigour, how it can come as close as possible to fulfilling them, and whether qualitative research should at all attempt to live up to these understandings of research quality. Responding to this debate, many methodologists have argued for the need of translating objectivity, validity, and reliability within qualitative research designs.

The discussion of rigour is a loaded one, among methodologists of all three research approaches (qualitative, quantitative, mixed-methods) as well as mong qualitative researchers themselves. This course introduces different quality strategies for qualitative research to help students make informed decisions for improving their own empirical work and to better judge the rigour of empirical qualitative research done by others.

14:00
Qualitative Interviews with Vulnerable Groups (1 of 3) [Places] 14:00 - 16:00 Plant Sciences, Large Lecture Theatre

Qualitative research methods are often used in the social sciences to learn more about the world and are often considered to be particularly appropriate for people who might be considered vulnerable. The goal of this course is to encourage students to think critically about the concept of 'vulnerability'; to offer a practical guide to conducting qualitative research that responds to the vulnerabilities of participants and researchers; and to explore ways of challenging and resisting research practices that could be extractive or harmful. It will be highly discursive and will draw throughout on ‘real life’ research examples. The course will be of interest to students who are conducting, or planning to conduct, research with a group considered vulnerable, and will also be of interest to students who want to critically engage with such research in their field.

For a more detailed outline of each session please see the 'Learning Outcomes' section below.

Content warning: Throughout, the course will cover the experience and effects of different forms of trauma. The first session will touch on the lecturer's research with people affected by criminal exploitation.

Content warnings for other sessions will be raised at the end of the preceding session and emailed, where necessary. If you have any concerns you would like to raise with me regarding these matters, please do email the lecturer.

Public Policy Analysis (2 of 3) In progress 14:00 - 16:00 Corpus Christi, McCrum Theatre

The analysis of policy depends on many disciplines and techniques and so is difficult for many researchers to access. This module provides a mixed perspective on policy analysis, taking both an academic and a practitioner perspective. This is because the same tools and techniques can be used in academic research on policy options and change as those used in practice in a policy environment. This course is provided as three 2 hour sessions delivered as a mix of lectures and seminars. No direct analysis work will be done in the sessions themselves, but some sample data and questions will be provided for students who wish to take the material into practice.

Diary Methodology (1 of 3) [Full] 14:00 - 18:00 SSRMP pre-recorded lecture(s) on Moodle

This SSRMP module introduces solicited diaries as a qualitative data collection method. Diary methodology is a flexible and versatile tool which has been used across a variety of disciplines (e.g. public health, nursing, psychology, media studies, education, sociology).

Solicited diaries are particularly powerful in combination with qualitative interviews, enabling the remote collection of rich data on intimate or unobservable topic areas over a longer period of time. This multi-method approach, also known as the ‘diary-interview method’ (DIM), has been originally developed as an alternative to participant observation (see: Zimmerman, D. H., & Wieder, D. L. (1977). The Diary: Diary-Interview Method. Urban Life, 5(4), 479–498.), which makes it an especially attractive qualitative data collection method in Covid-19 times.

In addition to the engagement with pre-recorded videos on Moodle (covering diary methodology basics), you will get hands-on experience with designing your own qualitative diary (3 hours live workshop via Zoom) and trying out the role of a researcher as well as research participant over a 5-day period (teaming up with a module colleague and filling out each other’s diaries). We will reflect on these experiences and answer remaining questions in a final 1-hour live session via Zoom.

The module is suitable for anybody interested in learning more about the method and/or using solicited qualitative diaries in their own research projects.

Tuesday 7 February

14:00
Further Topics in Multivariate Analysis (FTMA) 1 (1 of 4) Not bookable 14:00 - 16:00 SSRMP pre-recorded lecture(s) on Moodle

This module is an extension of the three previous modules in the Basic Statistics stream, and introduces more complex and nuanced aspects of the theory and practice of mutivariate analysis. Students will learn the theory behind the methods covered, how to implement them in practice, how to interpret their results, and how to write intelligently about their findings. Half of the module is based in the lecture theatre; the other half is lab-based, in which students will work through practical exercises using the statistical software Stata.

Topics covered include:

  • Interaction effects in regression models: how to estimate these and how to interpret them
  • Marginal effects from interacted models
  • Ordered and categorical discrete dependent variable models (ordered and multinomial logit and probit)

To get the most out of the course, you should also expect to spend some time between sessions building your own statistical models.

Further Topics in Multivariate Analysis (FTMA) 2 (1 of 3) Not bookable 14:00 - 16:00 SSRMP pre-recorded lecture(s) on Moodle

This module is an extension of the three previous modules in the Basic Statistics stream, and introduces more complex and nuanced aspects of the theory and practice of mutivariate analysis. Students will learn the theory behind the methods covered, how to implement them in practice, how to interpret their results, and how to write intelligently about their findings. Half of the module is based in the lecture theatre; the other half is lab-based, in which students will work through practical exercises using the statistical software Stata.

Topics covered include:

  • Interaction effects in regression models: how to estimate these and how to interpret them
  • Marginal effects from interacted models
  • Ordered and categorical discrete dependent variable models (ordered and multinomial logit and probit)

To get the most out of the course, you should also expect to spend some time between sessions building your own statistical models.

Diary Methodology (1 of 3) [Full] 14:00 - 18:00 SSRMP pre-recorded lecture(s) on Moodle

This SSRMP module introduces solicited diaries as a qualitative data collection method. Diary methodology is a flexible and versatile tool which has been used across a variety of disciplines (e.g. public health, nursing, psychology, media studies, education, sociology).

Solicited diaries are particularly powerful in combination with qualitative interviews, enabling the remote collection of rich data on intimate or unobservable topic areas over a longer period of time. This multi-method approach, also known as the ‘diary-interview method’ (DIM), has been originally developed as an alternative to participant observation (see: Zimmerman, D. H., & Wieder, D. L. (1977). The Diary: Diary-Interview Method. Urban Life, 5(4), 479–498.), which makes it an especially attractive qualitative data collection method in Covid-19 times.

In addition to the engagement with pre-recorded videos on Moodle (covering diary methodology basics), you will get hands-on experience with designing your own qualitative diary (3 hours live workshop via Zoom) and trying out the role of a researcher as well as research participant over a 5-day period (teaming up with a module colleague and filling out each other’s diaries). We will reflect on these experiences and answer remaining questions in a final 1-hour live session via Zoom.

The module is suitable for anybody interested in learning more about the method and/or using solicited qualitative diaries in their own research projects.

16:00
Further Topics in Multivariate Analysis (FTMA) 1 (2 of 4) Not bookable 16:00 - 18:00 University Centre, Cormack Room

This module is an extension of the three previous modules in the Basic Statistics stream, and introduces more complex and nuanced aspects of the theory and practice of mutivariate analysis. Students will learn the theory behind the methods covered, how to implement them in practice, how to interpret their results, and how to write intelligently about their findings. Half of the module is based in the lecture theatre; the other half is lab-based, in which students will work through practical exercises using the statistical software Stata.

Topics covered include:

  • Interaction effects in regression models: how to estimate these and how to interpret them
  • Marginal effects from interacted models
  • Ordered and categorical discrete dependent variable models (ordered and multinomial logit and probit)

To get the most out of the course, you should also expect to spend some time between sessions building your own statistical models.

17:30
Open Source Investigation for Academics new (3 of 8) In progress 17:30 - 18:30 SSRMP Zoom

Open Source Investigation for Academics is methodology course run by Cambridge’s Digital Verification Corps, in partnership with Cambridge’s Centre of Governance and Human Rights, Social Sciences Research Methods Programme and Cambridge Digital Humanities, as well as with the Citizen Evidence Lab at Amnesty International.

NB. Places on this module are extremely limited, so please only make a booking if you are able to attend all of the sessions.

Thursday 9 February

10:00
Evaluation Methods (3 of 8) In progress 10:00 - 11:15 SSRMP pre-recorded lecture(s) on Moodle

This course aims to provide students with a range of specific technical skills that will enable them to undertake impact evaluation of policy. Too often policy is implemented but not fully evaluated. Without evaluation we cannot then tell what the short or longer term impact of a particular policy has been. On this course, students will learn the skills needed to evaluate particular policies and will have the opportunity to do some hands on data manipulation. A particular feature of this course is that it provides these skills in a real world context of policy evaluation. It also focuses primarily not on experimental evaluation (Random Control Trials) but rather quasi-experimental methodologies that can be used where an experiment is not desirable or feasible.

Topics:

  • Regression-based techniques
  • Evaluation framework and concepts
  • The limitations of regression based approaches and RCTs
  • Before/After, Difference in Difference (DID) methods
  • Computer exercise on difference in difference methods
  • Instrumental variables techniques
  • Regression discontinuity design.
14:00
Evaluation Methods (4 of 8) In progress 14:00 - 15:15 University Centre, Cormack Room

This course aims to provide students with a range of specific technical skills that will enable them to undertake impact evaluation of policy. Too often policy is implemented but not fully evaluated. Without evaluation we cannot then tell what the short or longer term impact of a particular policy has been. On this course, students will learn the skills needed to evaluate particular policies and will have the opportunity to do some hands on data manipulation. A particular feature of this course is that it provides these skills in a real world context of policy evaluation. It also focuses primarily not on experimental evaluation (Random Control Trials) but rather quasi-experimental methodologies that can be used where an experiment is not desirable or feasible.

Topics:

  • Regression-based techniques
  • Evaluation framework and concepts
  • The limitations of regression based approaches and RCTs
  • Before/After, Difference in Difference (DID) methods
  • Computer exercise on difference in difference methods
  • Instrumental variables techniques
  • Regression discontinuity design.
Reading and Understanding Statistics (2 of 4) In progress 14:00 - 16:00 SSRMP Zoom

This module is for students who don’t plan to use quantitative methods in their own research, but who need to be able to read and understand published research using quantitative methods. You will learn how to interpret graphs, frequency tables and multivariate regression results, and to ask intelligent questions about sampling, methods and statistical inference. The module is aimed at complete beginners, with no prior knowledge of statistics or quantitative methods.

Monday 13 February

10:00
Diary Methodology (2 of 3) [Full] 10:00 - 13:00 Phoenix Teaching Room 1, New Museums Site

This SSRMP module introduces solicited diaries as a qualitative data collection method. Diary methodology is a flexible and versatile tool which has been used across a variety of disciplines (e.g. public health, nursing, psychology, media studies, education, sociology).

Solicited diaries are particularly powerful in combination with qualitative interviews, enabling the remote collection of rich data on intimate or unobservable topic areas over a longer period of time. This multi-method approach, also known as the ‘diary-interview method’ (DIM), has been originally developed as an alternative to participant observation (see: Zimmerman, D. H., & Wieder, D. L. (1977). The Diary: Diary-Interview Method. Urban Life, 5(4), 479–498.), which makes it an especially attractive qualitative data collection method in Covid-19 times.

In addition to the engagement with pre-recorded videos on Moodle (covering diary methodology basics), you will get hands-on experience with designing your own qualitative diary (3 hours live workshop via Zoom) and trying out the role of a researcher as well as research participant over a 5-day period (teaming up with a module colleague and filling out each other’s diaries). We will reflect on these experiences and answer remaining questions in a final 1-hour live session via Zoom.

The module is suitable for anybody interested in learning more about the method and/or using solicited qualitative diaries in their own research projects.

14:00
Qualitative Interviews with Vulnerable Groups (2 of 3) [Places] 14:00 - 16:00 Plant Sciences, Large Lecture Theatre

Qualitative research methods are often used in the social sciences to learn more about the world and are often considered to be particularly appropriate for people who might be considered vulnerable. The goal of this course is to encourage students to think critically about the concept of 'vulnerability'; to offer a practical guide to conducting qualitative research that responds to the vulnerabilities of participants and researchers; and to explore ways of challenging and resisting research practices that could be extractive or harmful. It will be highly discursive and will draw throughout on ‘real life’ research examples. The course will be of interest to students who are conducting, or planning to conduct, research with a group considered vulnerable, and will also be of interest to students who want to critically engage with such research in their field.

For a more detailed outline of each session please see the 'Learning Outcomes' section below.

Content warning: Throughout, the course will cover the experience and effects of different forms of trauma. The first session will touch on the lecturer's research with people affected by criminal exploitation.

Content warnings for other sessions will be raised at the end of the preceding session and emailed, where necessary. If you have any concerns you would like to raise with me regarding these matters, please do email the lecturer.

Public Policy Analysis (3 of 3) In progress 14:00 - 16:00 Corpus Christi, McCrum Theatre

The analysis of policy depends on many disciplines and techniques and so is difficult for many researchers to access. This module provides a mixed perspective on policy analysis, taking both an academic and a practitioner perspective. This is because the same tools and techniques can be used in academic research on policy options and change as those used in practice in a policy environment. This course is provided as three 2 hour sessions delivered as a mix of lectures and seminars. No direct analysis work will be done in the sessions themselves, but some sample data and questions will be provided for students who wish to take the material into practice.

Tuesday 14 February

14:00
Further Topics in Multivariate Analysis (FTMA) 1 (3 of 4) Not bookable 14:00 - 16:00 SSRMP pre-recorded lecture(s) on Moodle

This module is an extension of the three previous modules in the Basic Statistics stream, and introduces more complex and nuanced aspects of the theory and practice of mutivariate analysis. Students will learn the theory behind the methods covered, how to implement them in practice, how to interpret their results, and how to write intelligently about their findings. Half of the module is based in the lecture theatre; the other half is lab-based, in which students will work through practical exercises using the statistical software Stata.

Topics covered include:

  • Interaction effects in regression models: how to estimate these and how to interpret them
  • Marginal effects from interacted models
  • Ordered and categorical discrete dependent variable models (ordered and multinomial logit and probit)

To get the most out of the course, you should also expect to spend some time between sessions building your own statistical models.

Further Topics in Multivariate Analysis (FTMA) 2 (2 of 3) Not bookable 14:00 - 16:00 SSRMP pre-recorded lecture(s) on Moodle

This module is an extension of the three previous modules in the Basic Statistics stream, and introduces more complex and nuanced aspects of the theory and practice of mutivariate analysis. Students will learn the theory behind the methods covered, how to implement them in practice, how to interpret their results, and how to write intelligently about their findings. Half of the module is based in the lecture theatre; the other half is lab-based, in which students will work through practical exercises using the statistical software Stata.

Topics covered include:

  • Interaction effects in regression models: how to estimate these and how to interpret them
  • Marginal effects from interacted models
  • Ordered and categorical discrete dependent variable models (ordered and multinomial logit and probit)

To get the most out of the course, you should also expect to spend some time between sessions building your own statistical models.

16:00
Conversation and Discourse Analysis (1 of 4) [Places] 16:00 - 17:30 Lecture Theatre A (Arts School)

The module will introduce students to the study of language use as a distinctive type of social practice. Attention will be focused primarily on the methodological and analytic principles of conversation analysis. (CA). However, it will explore the debates between CA and Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), as a means of addressing the relationship between the study of language use and the study of other aspects of social life. It will also consider the roots of conversation analysis in the research initiatives of ethnomethodology, and the analysis of ordinary and institutional talk. It will finally consider the interface between CA and CDA.

Further Topics in Multivariate Analysis (FTMA) 1 (4 of 4) Not bookable 16:00 - 18:00 University Centre, Cormack Room

This module is an extension of the three previous modules in the Basic Statistics stream, and introduces more complex and nuanced aspects of the theory and practice of mutivariate analysis. Students will learn the theory behind the methods covered, how to implement them in practice, how to interpret their results, and how to write intelligently about their findings. Half of the module is based in the lecture theatre; the other half is lab-based, in which students will work through practical exercises using the statistical software Stata.

Topics covered include:

  • Interaction effects in regression models: how to estimate these and how to interpret them
  • Marginal effects from interacted models
  • Ordered and categorical discrete dependent variable models (ordered and multinomial logit and probit)

To get the most out of the course, you should also expect to spend some time between sessions building your own statistical models.

17:30
Open Source Investigation for Academics new (4 of 8) In progress 17:30 - 18:30 SSRMP Zoom

Open Source Investigation for Academics is methodology course run by Cambridge’s Digital Verification Corps, in partnership with Cambridge’s Centre of Governance and Human Rights, Social Sciences Research Methods Programme and Cambridge Digital Humanities, as well as with the Citizen Evidence Lab at Amnesty International.

NB. Places on this module are extremely limited, so please only make a booking if you are able to attend all of the sessions.

Wednesday 15 February

09:00
Propensity Score Matching (1 of 2) [Places] 09:00 - 13:00 SSRMP Zoom

Propensity score matching (PSM) is a technique that simulates an experimental study in an observational data set in order to estimate a causal effect. In an experimental study, subjects are randomly allocated to “treatment” and “control” groups; if the randomisation is done correctly, there should be no differences in the background characteristics of the treated and non-treated groups, so any differences in the outcome between the two groups may be attributed to a causal effect of the treatment. An observational survey, by contrast, will contain some people who have been subject to the “treatment” and some people who have not, but they will not have not been randomly allocated to those groups. The characteristics of people in the treatment and control groups may differ, so differences in the outcome cannot be attributed to the treatment. PSM attempts to mimic the experimental situation trial by creating two groups from the sample, whose background characteristics are virtually identical. People in the treatment group are “matched” with similar people in the control group. The difference between the treatment and control groups in this case should may therefore more plausibly be attributed to the treatment itself. PSM is widely applied in many disciplines, including sociology, criminology, economics, politics, and epidemiology. The module covers the basic theory of PSM, the steps in the implementation (e.g. variable choice for matching and types of matching algorithms), and assessment of matching quality. We will also work through practical exercises using Stata, in which students will learn how to apply the technique to the analysis of real data and how to interpret the results.

14:00
Propensity Score Matching (2 of 2) [Places] 14:00 - 18:00 SSRMP Zoom

Propensity score matching (PSM) is a technique that simulates an experimental study in an observational data set in order to estimate a causal effect. In an experimental study, subjects are randomly allocated to “treatment” and “control” groups; if the randomisation is done correctly, there should be no differences in the background characteristics of the treated and non-treated groups, so any differences in the outcome between the two groups may be attributed to a causal effect of the treatment. An observational survey, by contrast, will contain some people who have been subject to the “treatment” and some people who have not, but they will not have not been randomly allocated to those groups. The characteristics of people in the treatment and control groups may differ, so differences in the outcome cannot be attributed to the treatment. PSM attempts to mimic the experimental situation trial by creating two groups from the sample, whose background characteristics are virtually identical. People in the treatment group are “matched” with similar people in the control group. The difference between the treatment and control groups in this case should may therefore more plausibly be attributed to the treatment itself. PSM is widely applied in many disciplines, including sociology, criminology, economics, politics, and epidemiology. The module covers the basic theory of PSM, the steps in the implementation (e.g. variable choice for matching and types of matching algorithms), and assessment of matching quality. We will also work through practical exercises using Stata, in which students will learn how to apply the technique to the analysis of real data and how to interpret the results.

Thursday 16 February

09:00
Atlas.ti (5 of 6) In progress 09:00 - 10:30 SSRMP pre-recorded lecture(s) on Moodle

This course provides an introduction to the management and analysis of qualitative data using Atlas.ti. It is divided between pre-recorded lectures, in which you’ll learn the relevant strategies and techniques, and hands-on live practical sessions in Zoom, in which you will learn how to analyse qualitative data using the software.

The sessions will introduce participants to the following:

  • consideration of the advantages and limitations of using qualitative analysis software
  • setting-up a research project in Atlas.ti
  • use of Atlas.ti's menus and tool bars
  • importing and organising data
  • starting data analysis using Atlas.ti’s coding tools
  • exploring data using query and visualization tools

Please note: Atlas.ti for Mac will not be covered.

10:00
Evaluation Methods (5 of 8) In progress 10:00 - 11:15 SSRMP pre-recorded lecture(s) on Moodle

This course aims to provide students with a range of specific technical skills that will enable them to undertake impact evaluation of policy. Too often policy is implemented but not fully evaluated. Without evaluation we cannot then tell what the short or longer term impact of a particular policy has been. On this course, students will learn the skills needed to evaluate particular policies and will have the opportunity to do some hands on data manipulation. A particular feature of this course is that it provides these skills in a real world context of policy evaluation. It also focuses primarily not on experimental evaluation (Random Control Trials) but rather quasi-experimental methodologies that can be used where an experiment is not desirable or feasible.

Topics:

  • Regression-based techniques
  • Evaluation framework and concepts
  • The limitations of regression based approaches and RCTs
  • Before/After, Difference in Difference (DID) methods
  • Computer exercise on difference in difference methods
  • Instrumental variables techniques
  • Regression discontinuity design.
10:30
Atlas.ti (6 of 6) In progress 10:30 - 12:00 SSRMP Zoom

This course provides an introduction to the management and analysis of qualitative data using Atlas.ti. It is divided between pre-recorded lectures, in which you’ll learn the relevant strategies and techniques, and hands-on live practical sessions in Zoom, in which you will learn how to analyse qualitative data using the software.

The sessions will introduce participants to the following:

  • consideration of the advantages and limitations of using qualitative analysis software
  • setting-up a research project in Atlas.ti
  • use of Atlas.ti's menus and tool bars
  • importing and organising data
  • starting data analysis using Atlas.ti’s coding tools
  • exploring data using query and visualization tools

Please note: Atlas.ti for Mac will not be covered.

14:00
Evaluation Methods (6 of 8) In progress 14:00 - 15:15 University Centre, Cormack Room

This course aims to provide students with a range of specific technical skills that will enable them to undertake impact evaluation of policy. Too often policy is implemented but not fully evaluated. Without evaluation we cannot then tell what the short or longer term impact of a particular policy has been. On this course, students will learn the skills needed to evaluate particular policies and will have the opportunity to do some hands on data manipulation. A particular feature of this course is that it provides these skills in a real world context of policy evaluation. It also focuses primarily not on experimental evaluation (Random Control Trials) but rather quasi-experimental methodologies that can be used where an experiment is not desirable or feasible.

Topics:

  • Regression-based techniques
  • Evaluation framework and concepts
  • The limitations of regression based approaches and RCTs
  • Before/After, Difference in Difference (DID) methods
  • Computer exercise on difference in difference methods
  • Instrumental variables techniques
  • Regression discontinuity design.
Reading and Understanding Statistics (3 of 4) In progress 14:00 - 16:00 SSRMP Zoom

This module is for students who don’t plan to use quantitative methods in their own research, but who need to be able to read and understand published research using quantitative methods. You will learn how to interpret graphs, frequency tables and multivariate regression results, and to ask intelligent questions about sampling, methods and statistical inference. The module is aimed at complete beginners, with no prior knowledge of statistics or quantitative methods.