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Social Sciences Research Methods Programme course timetable

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Thu 22 Feb – Thu 29 Feb

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Thursday 22 February

16:00
Reading and Understanding Statistics (LT) (4 of 4) In progress 16:00 - 18:00 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.

Friday 23 February

09:00
Time Series Analysis (1 of 2) [Places] 09:00 - 13:00 Titan Teaching Room 3, New Museums Site

This module introduces the time series techniques relevant to forecasting in social science research and computer implementation of the methods. Background in basic statistical theory and regression methods is assumed. Topics covered include time series regression, Vector Error Correction and Vector Autoregressive Models, Time-varying Volatility, and ARCH models. The study of applied work is emphasized in this non-specialist module. Topics include:

  • Introduction to Time Series: Time series and cross-sectional data; Components of a time series, Forecasting methods overview; Measuring forecasting accuracy, Choosing a forecasting technique
  • Time Series Regression; Modelling linear and nonlinear trend; Detecting autocorrelation; Modelling seasonal variation by using dummy variables
  • Stationarity; Unit Root test; Cointegration
  • Vector Error Correlation and Vector Autoregressive models; Impulse responses and variance decompositions
  • Time-varying volatility and ARCH models; GARCH models
14:00
Time Series Analysis (2 of 2) [Places] 14:00 - 18:00 University Centre, Cormack Room

This module introduces the time series techniques relevant to forecasting in social science research and computer implementation of the methods. Background in basic statistical theory and regression methods is assumed. Topics covered include time series regression, Vector Error Correction and Vector Autoregressive Models, Time-varying Volatility, and ARCH models. The study of applied work is emphasized in this non-specialist module. Topics include:

  • Introduction to Time Series: Time series and cross-sectional data; Components of a time series, Forecasting methods overview; Measuring forecasting accuracy, Choosing a forecasting technique
  • Time Series Regression; Modelling linear and nonlinear trend; Detecting autocorrelation; Modelling seasonal variation by using dummy variables
  • Stationarity; Unit Root test; Cointegration
  • Vector Error Correlation and Vector Autoregressive models; Impulse responses and variance decompositions
  • Time-varying volatility and ARCH models; GARCH models
Neurodiversity in Learning and Teaching new [Places] 14:00 - 16:00 B3/B4, Institute of Criminology, Sidgwick Site

The neurodiversity module is designed for researchers and academics who wish to expand their knowledge of neurodiversity-friendly practices in research. The module centres around 5 key themes and covers the following:

• What is neurodiversity?

• How does neurodiversity impact research?

• What are specific learning difficulties (SpLD)?

• How do they impact your participants, and the positionality of the researcher?

• Delivering useful approaches and resources

Highlighting the difference between 'integration' and 'inclusion', the content will equip researchers to design the most effective research methods to increase inclusion and lessen the need for 'bolton' practices. The course will also discuss the difference between research design and delivery at the individual level versus the strategic level to be develop universal methods. The course will be practically useful for those wishing to learn about equipment, tools, and techniques additionally available to support researchers and participants alike, and how these can be funded through the University and/or other funding providers.

Monday 26 February

10:00
Survey Research and Design (LT) (3 of 6) In progress 10:00 - 11:30 SSRMP pre-recorded lecture(s) on Moodle

The module aims to provide students with an introduction to and overview of survey methods and its uses and limitations. It will introduce students both to some of the main theoretical issues involved in survey research (such as survey sampling, non-response and question wording) and to practicalities of the design and analysis of surveys. The module consists of six 1.5 hour sessions, alternating between prerecorded lectures and practical exercises.

14:00
Factor Analysis (4 of 4) In progress 14:00 - 16:00 Titan Teaching Room 1, New Museums Site

This module introduces the statistical techniques of Exploratory and Confirmatory Factor Analyses. Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) is used to uncover the latent structure (dimensions) of a set of variables. It reduces the attribute space from a larger number of variables to a smaller number of factors. Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) examines whether collected data correspond to a model of what the data are meant to measure. STATA will be introduced as a powerful tool to conduct confirmatory factor analysis. A brief introduction will be given to confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modelling.

  • Session 1: Exploratory Factor Analysis Introduction
  • Session 2: Factor Analysis Applications
  • Session 3: CFA and Path Analysis with STATA
  • Session 4: Introduction to SEM and programming
16:00
Survey Research and Design (LT) (4 of 6) In progress 16:00 - 17:30 University Centre, Hicks Room

The module aims to provide students with an introduction to and overview of survey methods and its uses and limitations. It will introduce students both to some of the main theoretical issues involved in survey research (such as survey sampling, non-response and question wording) and to practicalities of the design and analysis of surveys. The module consists of six 1.5 hour sessions, alternating between prerecorded lectures and practical exercises.

Tuesday 27 February

09:00
Introduction to Python (LT) (1 of 2) [Places] 09:00 - 12:00 SSRMP Zoom

This module introduces the use of Python, a free programming language originally developed for statistical data analysis. Students will learn:

  • Ways of reading data into Python
  • How to manipulate data in major data types
  • How to draw basic graphs and figures with Python
  • How to summarise data using descriptive statistics
  • How to perform basic inferential statistics


This module is suitable for students who have no prior experience in programming, but participants will be assumed to have a good working knowledge of basic statistical techniques.

13:00
Introduction to Python (LT) (2 of 2) [Places] 13:00 - 16:00 SSRMP Zoom

This module introduces the use of Python, a free programming language originally developed for statistical data analysis. Students will learn:

  • Ways of reading data into Python
  • How to manipulate data in major data types
  • How to draw basic graphs and figures with Python
  • How to summarise data using descriptive statistics
  • How to perform basic inferential statistics


This module is suitable for students who have no prior experience in programming, but participants will be assumed to have a good working knowledge of basic statistical techniques.

14:00
Further Topics in Multivariate Analysis (FTMA) 2 (3 of 3) Not bookable 14:00 - 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.

Conversation and Discourse Analysis (3 of 4) In progress 14:00 - 15:30 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.

16:00
Archival Research new (4 of 4) In progress 16:00 - 17:00 Titan Teaching Room 3, New Museums Site

This module is designed to help students who will need to use archives in their research, and consists of four sessions. The first session will deal with the large variety of material which can be found in archives, how it is organised, and how to use their various different catalogues and use of finding devices. The second session will look at how to plan an archive visit when it is necessary to consult stored documents. Increasingly more archives are making their material available online, and this session will examine how to find out what is available to view and can be download. The final session on overseas archives is given as part of the History Faculty general training.

17:00
Semiotic and Cultural Semantic Analysis new (4 of 4) In progress 17:00 - 19:00 Sidgwick Site, Alison Richard Building, S1

The module aims to provide students with an introduction to semiotics and cultural semantics. It will overview semiotic and cultural sematic approaches to cultural, literary, and social studies. The focus is on key aspects of semiotics and cultural semantics, including their key concepts and usage in research design and objectives. The module will explore the differences between approaches as opposed perspectives on cultural symbolism. While illustrative examples are mainly drawn from cultural, visual, and literary research, the skills acquired through this module are also applicable to other topics and areas in the social sciences.

Outline

The module is structured into two lectures and two workshops, each lasting two hours:

  • Lecture 1: Introduction to Semiotics and Cultural Semantics
  • Lecture 2: Key Semiotic and Cultural Semantic Concepts and Methods
  • Workshop 3: Reconstruction of Cultural Code
  • Workshop 4: Social Semiotic in Visual Studies

Contents

Lecture 1 will cover a brief overview of semiotics and cultural semantics, introducing key terms and distinctions between semiotic and semantic approaches to cultural studies. It will address strategies for investigating cultural symbolism and the meaning-making process.

Lecture 2 will delve into widely used concepts in both fields, such as cultural meaning, cultural text, symbol, sign, elementary communication structure and sign structure. This focus is on understanding cultural semiosis, symbolisation, and the meaning-making process. The lecture will explore both approaches in discussing cultural values, meanings, texts, and artifacts.

Workshop 3 will teach students how to reconstruct cultural code as a key structure for understanding cultural symbolisation. It will include the practical examples of reconstructing the cultural code related to single motherhood through literary texts.

Workshop 4 will introduce recent studies in visual grammar, drawing on surveys in children’s picturebooks. This session aims to explore the application of social semiotics in visual studies, emphasizing the analysis of visual elements in cultural symbolism and meaning making.

17:30
Open Source Investigation for Academics (LT) new (6 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 28 February

09:00
Structural Equation Modelling (2 of 2) In progress 09:00 - 13:00 Faculty of Education, 184 Hills Road, GS5

This intensive course on structural equation modelling will provide an introduction to SEM using the statistical software Stata. The aim of the course is to introduce structural equation modelling as an analytical framework and to familiarize participants with the applications of the technique in the social sciences.

The application of the structural equation modelling framework to a variety of social science research questions will be illustrated through examples of published papers. The examples used are drawn from recent papers as well as from publications from the early days of the technique; some use path analysis using cross-national data, others confirmatory factor analysis, and other still full structural models, to test particular hypotheses. Some example papers may be found below, though they should not be treated as the gold standard, rather as an illustration of the variety of approaches and reporting techniques within SEM.

  • Duff, A., Boyle, E., Dunleavy, K., & Ferguson, J. (2004). The relationship between personality, approach to learning and academic performance. Personality and individual differences, 36(8), 1907-1920.
  • Garnier, M., & Hout, M. (1976). Inequality of educational opportunity in France and the United States. Social Science Research, 5(3), 225-246.
  • Helm, F., Müller-Kalthoff, H., Mukowski, R., & Möller, J. (2018). Teacher judgment accuracy regarding students' self-concepts: Affected by social and dimensional comparisons?. Learning and Instruction, 55, 1-12.
  • Parker, P. D., Jerrim, J., Schoon, I., & Marsh, H. W. (2016). A multination study of socioeconomic inequality in expectations for progression to higher education: The role of between-school tracking and ability stratification. American Educational Research Journal, 53(1), 6-32.

Students will engage in a critique of such examples, with the aim of gaining a better understanding of the SEM framework, as well as its application to real-life data. To further facilitate this application focus, the theoretical introduction will be accompanied by practical examples based on real, publicly-available data.

14:00
An Introduction to Embodied Inquiry new [Places] 14:00 - 16:00 Titan Teaching Room 3, New Museums Site

This short course introduces Embodied Inquiry as a research method interested in knowledge generated through the body, not just knowledge of the body. Embodied Inquiry has gained traction as a creative research method capable of challenging the mind-body split and exploring the possible role of the body in research, both for the researcher and for participants. The course will provide a broad overview of the theoretical grounding for embodied inquiry, what embodied inquiry can look like within the social sciences as well as the benefits and pitfalls of embodied inquiry as a method. In addition, the course will provide opportunities to consider how embodied inquiry might relate to individual’s research projects and identifying where to find out more about embodied inquiry.

Data Visualisation Using Python new (2 of 2) In progress 14:00 - 16:00 SSRMP Zoom

The module explores Good Data Visualisation (GDV) and graph creation using Python.

In this module we demystify the principles of data visualisation, using Python software, to help researchers to better understand and reflect how the “5 Principles” of GDV can be achieved. We also examine how we can develop Python’s application in data visualisation beyond analysis. Students will have the opportunity to apply GDV knowledge and skills to data using Python in an online Zoom, self-paced, practical workshop. In addition there will be post-class exercises and a 1-hour asynchronous Q&A forum on Moodle Forum.

15:30
Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis (LT) (4 of 4) In progress 15:30 - 17:00 Lecture Theatre A (Arts School)

This course introduces students to discourse analysis with a particular focus on the (re)construction of discourse and meaning in textual data. It takes students through the different stages of conducting a discourse analysis in four practical-oriented sessions. The overall course focus is guided by a Foucauldian and Critical Discourse Analysis approach, conceptualising discourses as not only representing but actively producing the social world and examining its entanglement with power.

The first session gives an overview of theoretical underpinnings, exploring the epistemological positions that inform different strands of discourse analysis. In the second session, we delve into the practical application of discourse analysis of textual data. Topics covered include, among others, what research questions and aims are suitable for discourse analysis as well as data sampling. In the third session, we discuss how to analyse textual data based on discourse analysis using the computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software Atlas.ti. The fourth session will take a workshop format in which students apply the gained knowledge by developing their own research design based on discourse analysis.

16:00
Visual Research Method: Drawing (Group 3) new (1 of 2) [Places] 16:00 - 18:00 SSRMP Zoom

This module introduces drawing as a research method, with a particular focus on the key elements and methodological considerations for using drawing as a visual research method, and the pairing of drawing with qualitative interviews. This module explores examples of using drawing as a research method across disciplines, and students are offered hands-on experience to practice using drawing as a research method through a practical workshop.

Thursday 29 February

10:00
Atlas.ti (3 of 3) In progress 10:00 - 13:00 Titan Teaching Room 1, New Museums Site

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

Mixed Methods (LT) new (1 of 4) [Places] 10:00 - 11:00 SSRMP pre-recorded lecture(s) on Moodle

Mixed and multi method approaches are increasingly common in the social sciences. Whilst much has been written about the justification, design and benefit of mixed methods, there is correspondingly little published empirical research which rigorously employs such approaches. In this interactive session, we will consider what mixed and multi methods approaches are, when you might use them, and - most importantly - start to think about how you can integrate quantitative and qualitative data (a) across a series of studies and (b) within a single study.

Equitable Research through Creative Methods new (1 of 3) [Places] 10:00 - 11:00 SSRMP pre-recorded lecture(s) on Moodle

Research proposals, written consent forms, participant information sheets, letters of intent, briefs and proposals on university headed paper are all claims to power, neutrality and control in the research process. Though ethically imperative, this course is an opportunity to reflect upon these “fetishes of consent” (Wynn and Israel, 2018) and the unequal power relations they may produce between participant and researcher. Employing creative methods within the research process, from start to end, is an opportunity to communicate meaningfully with all stakeholders; from a struggling mother with low literacy levels in a Mumbai slum, to a time conscious policy official in Cape Town who refuses to glance past the first paragraph of your research proposal. The ability to communicate complex and often abstract ideas beyond an academic audience is pivotal to doing research with impact, and it is also a vital part of a decolonial agenda. While “the proof of the [decolonial] pudding” is arguably identified in how research is analysed and presented (Hitchings and Latham, 2020:392), it is crucial that methodologies are subject to critical reflexivity, and foster knowledge exchange between scholars, practitioners, and respondents.

In this course we will explore a variety of “creative methods” that have been developed for use in the field, and to generate empirical data. This course then goes further, to explore ways of incorporating creativity throughout the research process in areas such as stakeholder engagement, participant recruitment, consent processes, and gatekeeper conflict during data collection and research dissemination. As part of the course, you will make a simple means for creative outreach such as a video, presentation, drawing, or video recording (etc.) that communicates your research to intended stakeholder(s). We will think critically about intended audience demographics (i.e. elderly, working mothers, young people, peasant farmers, NGO workers or city officials) and reflect upon the creative materials we have produced as a group and discuss its methodological implications. The goal is not to use creative practice as simply another empirical data gathering tool, but to address the hierarchies within academic processes and knowledge production. Creative practice is an opportunity to build new communication strategies that foster the reflexivity, flexibility, and wonder of the unknown within co-production, enabling us to move towards more equitable ways of building and cocreating knowledge.

11:00
Web Scraping and Digital Power new (1 of 2) [Places] 11:00 - 13:00 SSRMP Zoom

Web scraping has great potential as a research tool that can be applied across various fields of research including social science and humanities, and allows us to reach beyond the ‘quantitative and qualitative divide’. The programming and code-reading/analysing skills used in web scraping can enhance our understanding of digital power beyond the traditional limits of computing techniques.

This two-hour training module (plus 1-hour online Q&A session) introduces researchers to how to use Python software for web scraping. You will learn what web scraping means, the principles behind it, and ethical considerations, and importantly how to use Python to achieve web scraping. The module provides a good opportunity to learn how to enhance your coding and code-reading skills, from which you can reflect on how digital power especially web scraping and coding is shaping contemporary research. The training is programming beginner friendly.

14:00
Mixed Methods (LT) new (2 of 4) [Places] 14:00 - 16:00 University Centre, Hicks Room

Mixed and multi method approaches are increasingly common in the social sciences. Whilst much has been written about the justification, design and benefit of mixed methods, there is correspondingly little published empirical research which rigorously employs such approaches. In this interactive session, we will consider what mixed and multi methods approaches are, when you might use them, and - most importantly - start to think about how you can integrate quantitative and qualitative data (a) across a series of studies and (b) within a single study.

16:00
Visual Research Method: Drawing (Group 1) new (1 of 2) [Places] 16:00 - 18:00 Titan Teaching Room 1, New Museums Site

This module introduces drawing as a research method, with a particular focus on the key elements and methodological considerations for using drawing as a visual research method, and the pairing of drawing with qualitative interviews. This module explores examples of using drawing as a research method across disciplines, and students are offered hands-on experience to practice using drawing as a research method through a practical workshop.

Visual Research Method: Drawing (Group 2) new (1 of 2) [Places] 16:00 - 18:00 Titan Teaching Room 1, New Museums Site

This module introduces drawing as a research method, with a particular focus on the key elements and methodological considerations for using drawing as a visual research method, and the pairing of drawing with qualitative interviews. This module explores examples of using drawing as a research method across disciplines, and students are offered hands-on experience to practice using drawing as a research method through a practical workshop.

17:00
Web Scraping and Digital Power new (2 of 2) [Places] 17:00 - 18:00 Taught Online

Web scraping has great potential as a research tool that can be applied across various fields of research including social science and humanities, and allows us to reach beyond the ‘quantitative and qualitative divide’. The programming and code-reading/analysing skills used in web scraping can enhance our understanding of digital power beyond the traditional limits of computing techniques.

This two-hour training module (plus 1-hour online Q&A session) introduces researchers to how to use Python software for web scraping. You will learn what web scraping means, the principles behind it, and ethical considerations, and importantly how to use Python to achieve web scraping. The module provides a good opportunity to learn how to enhance your coding and code-reading skills, from which you can reflect on how digital power especially web scraping and coding is shaping contemporary research. The training is programming beginner friendly.