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This course will provide a detailed critique of the methods and philosophy of the Null Hypothesis Significance Testing (NHST) approach to statistics which is currently dominant in social and biomedical science. We will briefly contrast NHST with alternatives, especially with Bayesian methods. We will use some computer code (Matlab and R) to demonstrate some issues. However, we will focus on the big picture rather on the implementation of specific procedures.

Advanced Topics in Data Preparation Using R new Thu 16 Nov 2023   10:00 Finished

The data we obtain from survey and experimental platforms (for behavioural science) can be very messy and not ready for analysis. For social science researchers, survey data are the most common type of data to deal with. But typically the data are not obtained in a format that permits statistical analyses without first conducting considerable time re-formatting, re-arranging, manipulating columns and rows, de-bugging, re-coding, and linking datasets. In this module students will be introduced to common techniques and tools for preparing and cleaning data ready for analysis to proceed. The module consists of four lab exercises where students make use of real life, large-scale, datasets to obtain practical experience of generating codes and debugging.

An Introduction to Embodied Inquiry new Wed 28 Feb 2024   14:00 [Places]

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.

With such a large variety of qualitative research methods to choose from, creating a research design can be confusing and difficult without a sufficiently informed overview. This module aims to provide an overview by introducing qualitative data collection and analysis methods commonly used in social science research. The module provides a foundation for other SSRMP qualitative methods modules such as ethnography, discourse analysis, interviews, or diary research. Knowing what is ‘out there’ will help a researcher purposefully select further modules to study on, provide readings to deepen knowledge on specific methods, and will facilitate a more informed research design that contributes to successful empirical research.

NB. This module has video content that needs watching prior to the advertised start date, which can be found on the Moodle page.

Archival Research new Thu 8 Feb 2024   14:00 Finished

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.

Atlas.ti Thu 15 Feb 2024   10:00 In progress

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.

Basic Quantitative Analysis (BQA-6) Mon 29 Jan 2024   10:00 Finished

This module follows on from Foundations in Applied statistics, and will teach you the basics of common bivariate techniques (that is, techniques that examine the associations between two variables). The module is divided between lectures, in which you'll learn the relevant theory, and hands-on practical sessions, in which you will learn how to apply these techniques to the analysis of real data.

Techniques to be covered include:

  • Cross-tabulations
  • Scatterplots
  • Covariance and correlation
  • Nonparametric methods
  • Two-sample t-tests
  • ANOVA
  • Ordinary Least Squares (OLS)

For best results, students should expect to do a few hours of private study and spend a little extra time in the computer labs, in addition to coming to class.

Bayesian Statistics new Tue 7 May 2024   10:00 [Standby]

The purpose of this course is to familiarise students with the basic concepts of Bayesian theory. It is designed to provide an introduction to the principles, methods, and applications of Bayesian statistics. Bayesian statistics offers a powerful framework for data analysis and inference, allowing for the incorporation of prior knowledge and uncertainty in a coherent and systematic manner.

Throughout this course, we will cover key concepts such as Bayes' theorem, prior and posterior distributions, likelihood functions, and the fundamental differences between Bayesian and frequentist approaches. You will learn to formulate and estimate statistical models, update beliefs using new data, and make informed decisions based on the posterior probabilities generated through Bayesian inference. By the end of this course, you will possess the necessary skills to perform Bayesian data analysis, interpret results, and apply Bayesian methods in various contexts.

Causal Inference Methods new Tue 23 Jan 2024   10:00 Finished

The module introduces causal inference methods that are commonly used in quantitative research, in particularly social policy evaluations. It covers the contexts and principles as well as applications of several specific methods - instrumental variable approach, regression discontinuity design, and difference-in-differences analysis. Key aspects of the module include investigations of the theoretical basis, statistical process, and illustrative examples drawn from research papers published on leading academic journals. The module incorporates both formal lecturing and lab practice to facilitate understanding and applications of the specific methods covered. The module is suitable for those who are interested in quantitative research and analysis of causality across a range of topics in social sciences.

Conversation and Discourse Analysis Tue 13 Feb 2024   14:00 In progress

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.

Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis (LT) Wed 7 Feb 2024   15:30 In progress

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.

Data Visualisation Using Python new Wed 21 Feb 2024   14:00 In progress

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.

Decoloniality in Research Methods new Mon 20 Nov 2023   10:00 CANCELLED

This short course will be an opportunity for us to engage with a variety of decolonial theories and methodologies and to consider the implications of these approaches on a variety of elements of our research processes. Each session will consist of a presentation which engages with selected decolonial theory and methods, examples of ‘methods in practice’ drawn from across the social sciences and time for self-reflexive individual and group discussion.

The course will not prescriptively define and provide instructions for ‘decolonial methods’, but instead be a space to consider a variety of ways in which scholars, activists and those working outside the traditional boundaries of ‘the academy’ have thought decolonially about social science research methodologies. The course’s workshop format will enable opportunities for us to apply some of these insights to our own scholarship.

Diary Methodology Wed 11 Oct 2023   14:00 Finished

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 (4 hours live workshop) and trying out the role of a researcher as well as research participant (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.

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

Digital and Online Research Methods Thu 25 Jan 2024   14:00 Finished

Virtual Data Collection in the Time of COVID-19: Practical and Ethical Considerations

Doing data collection in the time of COVID-19 has required the adaptation of existing approaches. While face-to-face data collection is not feasible during the COVID-19 crisis, phone- and internet-based interviews offer an alternative means of collecting primary data. In this workshop, we discus key practical and ethical issues concerning virtual approaches to data collection. We provide practical examples drawing on two related research projects that took place in a lower-middle income context during the Covid-19 school closures.

Doing Multivariate Analysis (DMA 3) Fri 9 Feb 2024   10:00 Finished

This module will introduce you to the theory and practice of multivariate analysis, covering Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) and logistic regressions. You will learn how to read published results critically, to do simple multivariate modelling yourself , and to interpret and write about your results intelligently.

Half of the module is based in the lecture theatre, and covers the theory behind multivariate regression; the other half is lab-based, in which students will work through practical exercises using statistical software.

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

Doing Qualitative Interviews Tue 23 Apr 2024   10:30 [Places]

Face-to-face interviews are used to collect a wide range of information in the social sciences. They are appropriate for the gathering of information on individual and institutional patterns of behaviour; complex histories or processes; identities and cultural meanings; routines that are not written down; and life-history events. Face-to-face interviews thus comprise an appropriate method to generate information on individual behaviour, the reasons for certain patterns of acting and talking, and the type of connection people have with each other.

The first session provides an overview of interviewing as a social research method, then focuses on the processes of organising and conducting qualitative interviews. The second session explores the ethics and practical constraints of interviews as a research method, particularly relevant when attempting to engage with marginalised or stigmatised communities. The third session focuses on organisation and analysis after interviews, including interpretation through coding and close reading.

In Easter Term, the course is entirely virtual, comprising the online resources, supported by 3 x zoom Q&A sessions.

Equitable Research through Creative Methods new Thu 29 Feb 2024   10:00 [Places]

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.

Ethical Review for Social Science Research (LT) new Tue 23 Jan 2024   16:00 Finished

Ethics and the associated process of approval / review are an important component of any research project, not only practically enabling research to take place but also enabling researchers to consider the values underpinning their research. The aim of this course is to take both a practical and reflective approach to ethics. On a practical level, the course will focus on identifying the steps involved in seeking ethical approval or undertaking an ethical review. On a reflective level, the course will explore the values informing key ethical principles and concepts and how these may relate to individual’s research.

Ethnographic Methods Thu 1 Feb 2024   15:30 Finished

This module is an introduction to ethnographic fieldwork and analysis, as these are practiced and understood by anthropologists. The module is intended for students in fields other than anthropology.

  • Session 1: The Ethnographic Method (Dr Andrew Sanchez)
  • Session 2: Multimodal Ethnography Part I (Dr Kelly Fagan Robinson)
  • Session 3: Digital Ethnography (Summer Qassim)
  • Session 4: Multimodal Ethnography Part II (Dr Kelly Fagan Robinson)

Session overview

Session 1: The Ethnographic Method

  • What is ethnography?
  • Can ethnographic research and writing be objective?
  • How does one conduct ethnographic research responsibly and ethically?

Session 2: Multimodal Ethnography Part I

In this session students will be introduced to 'multimodal' thinking and doing in fieldwork (multimodal literally means 'the different ways in which something occurs or is experienced'). We will practically unpack some of the ways of crafting what are known as 'fieldnotes', which are most commonly done via text but which can take a number of different forms. We will also think about how the varied approaches anthropologists take to document what they meet in their fieldsites can significantly impact the shaping of their subsequent analysis. We will unpack the pros and cons of different techniques of documentation including: text, drawing, sound recording, filmic capture, and photovoice.

Session 3: Digital Ethnography

In this session, we discuss anthropologically-informed ethnographic practices of "the digital." In order to do so, we first define what is meant by "digital", as well as delineate the various ways in which the digital presents itself in everyday life, in order to ascertain the appropriate ethnographic methods for each. The session combines theoretical conversations, research ethics, and practical tips on how to conduct research on digital platforms like social media sites, messaging apps, immersive virtual games, and how to mix methods when encountering intersections thereof.

Session 4: Multimodal Ethnography Part II

In this session, we will revisit multimodal approaches and reflect on relational dynamics in the field with particular attention to the ways in which methods have been used to address power imbalances in research methods, representation, and analysis. In particular we will think through the role of multimodal approaches as part of participant-led research. We will discuss how researchers can foster greater legibility and inclusion of research participants-- particularly those who are more marginalised --in discussions, debates and decisions about their lives and futures, equalizing, as far as possible, power hierarchies and epistemic imbalances.

Evaluation Methods Thu 1 Feb 2024   10:00 Finished

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.

Factor Analysis Mon 19 Feb 2024   11:00 In progress

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
Foundations in Applied Statistics (FiAS-6) Mon 22 Jan 2024   10:00 Finished

This is an introductory course for students who have little or no prior training in statistics.

The module is divided between pre-recorded mini-lectures, in which you'll learn the relevant theory, and hands-on live practical sessions in Zoom, in which you will learn how to analyse real data using the statistical package, Stata.

You will learn:

  • The key features of quantitative analysis, and how it differs from other types of empirical analysis
  • The basics of formal hypothesis testing
  • Basic concepts: what is a variable? what is the distribution of a variable? and how can we best represent a distribution graphically?
  • Features of statistical distributions: measures of central tendency and dispersion
  • The normal distribution
  • Why statistical testing works
  • Statistical methods used to test simple hypotheses
  • How to use Stata
Further Topics in Multivariate Analysis (FTMA) 2 Tue 13 Feb 2024   14:00 Finished

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.

Historical Sociological Methods Tue 24 Oct 2023   10:00 Finished

The aim of this course is to introduce students to comparative historical research methods and encourage them to engage with practical exercises, to distinguish between different approaches in comparative historical research methods in social sciences.

Through the reading and seminars students will learn how to distinguish between different texts, theorists and approaches and learn how to apply these approaches to their own research and writing.

Comparative historical sociology studies major social transformations over periods of time and across different states, societies, and regions.

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