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All Social Sciences Research Methods Programme courses

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Showing courses 1-25 of 55
Courses per page: 10 | 25 | 50 | 100

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.

Agent-Based Modelling with Netlogo new Self-taught Bookable

Societies can be viewed as path-dependent dynamical systems in which the interactions between multiple heterogeneous actors, and the institutions and organisations they create, lead to complex overlapping patterns of change over different space and time-scales. Agent-based models are exploratory tools for trying to understand some of this complexity. They use computational methods to represent individual people, households, organisations, or other types of agent, and help to make explicit the potential consequences of hypotheses about the way people act, interact and engage with their environment. These types of models have been used in fields as diverse as Architecture, Archaeology, Criminology, Economics, Epidemiology, Geography, and Sociology, covering all kinds of topics including social networks and formation of social norms, spatial distribution of criminal activity, spread of disease, issues in health and welfare, warfare and disasters, behaviour in stock-markets, land-use change, farming,forestry, fisheries, traffic flow, planning and development of cities, flooding and water management. This course introduces a popular freely available software tool, Netlogo, which is accessible to those with no initial programming experience, and shows how to use it to develop a variety of simple models so that students would be able to see how it might apply to their own research.

An Overview Of Qualitative Data Collection And Analysis Tue 20 Oct 2020   12:30 In progress

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. Please register on the module's Moodle page by 12th October, 2020

Atlas.ti Wed 3 Feb 2021   15:00 [Full]

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.

Basic Quantitative Analysis (BQA 2) Mon 9 Nov 2020   10:00   [More dates...] Not bookable

Building upon the univariate techniques introduced in the Foundations in Applied Statistics (FiAS) module, these sessions aim to provide students with a thorough understanding of statistical methods designed to test associations between two variables (bivariate statistics). Students will learn about the assumptions underlying each test, and will receive practical instruction on how to generate and interpret bivariate results using Stata. It introduces students to four of the most commonly used statistical tests in the social sciences: correlation, chi-square tests, t-tests, and analysis of variance (ANOVA).

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 apply these techniques to analyse real data using the statistical package, Stata.

You will learn the following techniques:

  • Cross-tabulations
  • Scatterplots
  • Covariance and correlation
  • Nonparametric methods
  • Two-sample t-tests
  • ANOVA

As well as viewing the pre-recorded mini lectures via Moodle and attending the live lab sessions, students are expected to do a few hours of independent study each week.

4 other events...

Date Availability
Mon 9 Nov 2020 10:00 Not bookable
Wed 11 Nov 2020 10:00 Not bookable
Wed 11 Nov 2020 10:00 Not bookable
Wed 27 Jan 2021 09:00 Not bookable
Causal Inference in the Social Sciences Wed 4 Mar 2020   14:00 Finished

The challenge of causal inference is ubiquitous in social science. Nearly every research project fundamentally is about causes and effects.

This introductory session will:

  • 1. Introduce three main approaches to elucidate causal relationship: structural equation models, causal directed acyclic graphs, and the counterfactual/potential outcome framework;
  • 2. Explain the common challenges in empirical research;
  • 3. Talk through some principles and intuition of several research designs that can help researchers make stronger claims for causality.

The emphasis is on setting out applications of each approach, along with pros and cons, so that participants understand when a particular design may be more or less suitable to a research problem.

Comparative Historical Methods Tue 15 Oct 2019   16:00 Finished

These four sessions will introduce students to comparative historical research methods, emphasizing their qualitative dimensions. In the first session, we will analyze some contemporary classics within this genre. In the second and third sessions, we will review and distinguish among a variety of intellectual justifications for this genre as a methodology. In the final session, we will focus on a "state of the art" defence of qualitative and comparative-historical research, both in theory and practice.

Conversation and Discourse Analysis Tue 19 Jan 2021   16:00 [Places]

NB. NOTES FOR INTERESTED STUDENTS

The course content for this year is under construction and will change. While the focus of the course will remain the same, the balance of the content between two types of analysis will change and hands-on tasks added to the curriculum.

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.

Topics:

  • Session 1: The Roots of Conversation Analysis
  • Session 2: Ordinary Talk
  • Session 3: Institutional Talk
  • Session 4: Conversation Analysis and Critical Discourse Analysis
Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis Wed 28 Oct 2020   10:00 In progress

he course offers an introduction to critical approaches to discourse analysis with a focus on linking theory with method. The topic will be approached from a broadly Foucauldian angle, considering discourse: “as groups of signs signifying elements referring to contents of representations, but as practices that systematically form the objects of which they speak.” The emphasis of the two lectures will be less upon what is known as ‘conversation analysis’ or ‘content analysis’ and more on text and speech as social practices that create reality rather than reflect it.

In the first session, we will discuss the theoretical ideas behind discourse analysis – focusing especially on the Foucauldian approach. In the second lecture, we will not only dive into methodological discussions but also apply the method in class by analysing a number of texts with support of a qualitative text analysis software.

Session 1: The origins of critical discourse analysis (the Frankfurt school, Foucault, post-structuralism, feminism); how theoretical backgrounds shape research design
Session 2: 'Doing' discourse analysis: analysing methods and approaches

Diary Methodology Mon 26 Oct 2020   09:00 POSTPONED

This four-part workshop series provides an introduction to using solicited diaries as a research tool. The main goal of the course is to add diary methodology to students’ research toolboxes. It is a flexible and versatile tool that has been used by researchers in many fields, including public health, nursing, psychology, media studies, education, and sociology. The workshop is suitable for anybody interested in learning more about the method and/or using diaries in their research.

The course covers the use of qualitative and quantitative types of diaries, both as a self-standing tool and as a part of mixed-method research designs. The lectures and workshops aim to provide theoretical and practical foundations, as well as first-hand experience with solicited diaries as a research tool. The course also provides unique insights into diary data analysis and its challenges.

The course is equally driven by lectures and student participation/practicums. The initial workshop (Week 1) provides a solid theoretical introduction to the diary methodology, including the history of the method, qualitative and quantitative variants, modes of delivery, and use of technology. The follow-up workshops sequentially advance this knowledge base through practical exercises and discussions (Weeks 2 & 4), as well as a specialist lecture (Week 3) on data management, participant communication, ethics and data analysis.

The internet is a great resource for humanities and social science data, but most information is apparently chaotic. In this course we will explore how to programmatically access information stored online, typically in html, to create neat, tabulated data ready for analysis. The uses of web scraping are diverse: previous versions of this course used the the programming language R to access data directly from newspapers, and by accessing live data streams using APIs (YouTube, Facebook, Google Maps, Wikipedia). The one-day course is structured as follows: in the morning, we will consider general principles of webscraping, illustrated through examples. This session is designed to create a toolkit needed to effectively collect different types of online data. Then in the afternoon the session will take a workshop format, where students may chose to begin applying web scraping to their their own research, or work through a structured set of exercises. If there are any particular data sources you are interested in accessing, do email me at dt444@cam.ac.uk, as I may be able to integrate an example directly relevant to your research into the session.

Different from past years, this course will be taught using Python, Jupyter Notebooks and the BeautifulSoup library. The course will not assume any prior knowledge of Python, but students are encouraged to learn a bit of the tools before the course. Any introductory MOOC course on Python (such as edx or Cursera) will provide an excellent introduction.

Doing Multivariate Analysis (DMA-1) Mon 23 Nov 2020   10:00   [More dates...] Not bookable

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.

3 other events...

Date Availability
Wed 25 Nov 2020 10:00 Not bookable
Wed 25 Nov 2020 10:00 Not bookable
Fri 29 Jan 2021 09:00 Not bookable
Doing Qualitative Interviews Tue 10 Nov 2020   10:00 [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. This session involves practical examples from qualitative analysis software. The final session provides an opportunity for a hands-on session, to which students should bring their interview material (at whatever stage of the process: whether writing interview questions, coding or analysing data) in order to receive advice and support in taking the interview material/data to the next stage of the research process.

Topics:

1. Conducting qualitative interviews

2. Ethics and practical constraints

3. Practical session: interpretation and analysis

Ethics in Data Collection and Use Mon 27 Jan 2020   13:00 Finished

This is an introductory course for students whose research involves collecting, storing or analysing data using networked digital devices. Unless your research data is only collected using pen and paper or tape recorders and is written up on a manual typewriter, this course will be relevant to you. If you are planning to collect data online through either public or private communications, or you intend to share or publish data collected by other means it will be essential.

Ethnographic Methods Tue 4 Feb 2020   15:30 Finished

This module is an introduction to ethnographic fieldwork and analysis and is intended for students in fields other than anthropology. It provides an introduction to contemporary debates in ethnography, and an outline of how selected methods may be used in ethnographic study.

The ethnographic method was originally developed in the field of social anthropology, but has grown in popularity across several disciplines, including sociology, geography, criminology, education and organization studies.

Ethnographic research is a largely qualitative method, based upon participant observation among small samples of people for extended periods. A community of research participants might be defined on the basis of ethnicity, geography, language, social class, or on the basis of membership of a group or organization. An ethnographer aims to engage closely with the culture and experiences of their research participants, to produce a holistic analysis of their fieldsite.


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: Photography and Audio Recording in Ethnographic Work
What kinds of audiovisual equipment, and practices of photography and sound recording, can be used to support an ethnographer’s research process? What kinds of the epistemological, theoretical, social, and ethical considerations tend to arise around possible use of these technologies in anthropological fieldwork and analysis?

Session 3: Relationships in the Field
Ethnographic methodology and participant observation often involve researchers’ positioning in existing networks of social relations. This session is meant to help attendees manage interpersonal relationships with research participants from academic, political, and ethical perspectives. We will discuss when and why relationships in ethnographic fieldwork can be a reason for concern. We will reflect on the social distinctions that emerge when doing fieldwork with other people and their effects on researchers’ decision-making process. Finally, we will think through different fieldwork strategies when working with others, and how they impact the production of ethnographic knowledge.

Session 4: Defining the Fieldsite
This session is meant to equip attendees with the practical skill of how to determine, or work with, the limits of the fieldsite. Drawing on reflections on the challenges of working across sprawling geographical fields, as well as more enclosed geographical sites, we will discuss strategies for either strategically bounding the seemingly infinite fieldsite, or letting the boundaries of an already limited one work for you. We will also discuss how this methodological decision might impact the theoretical insights that emerge from a period of fieldwork, as well as how it impacts the interview process, methods of participant observation, and strategies for developing relationships with gatekeepers and interlocutors

PLEASE NOTE: Update on additional teaching - we have now scheduled the two additional sessions on 18 and 25 February. Further information on their content will follow.

Evaluation Methods Mon 15 Mar 2021   10:00 [Places]

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.
Event History Analysis new Mon 1 Mar 2021   09:00 [Places]

This course offers an introduction to event history analysis, which is a tool used for analyzing the occurrence and timing of events. Typical examples are life course transitions such as the transition to parenthood and partnership formation processes, labour market processes such as job promotions, mortality, and transitions to and from sickness and disability. The researcher may be interested in examining how the rate of a particular event varies over time or with individual characteristics, social conditions, or other factors. Event History Analysis lets the researcher handle censoring and truncation, include time-varying independent variables, account for unobserved heterogeneity (frailty), and so on. The course will rely on Stata as the main computing tool, but users of other statistical software could still benefit from the course. The course is taught through both lectures and lab sessions.

This course will introduce students to the approach called "Exploratory Data Analysis" (EDA) where the aim is to extract useful information from data, with an enquiring, open and sceptical mind. It is, in many ways, an antidote to many advanced modelling approaches, where researchers lose touch with the richness of their data. Seeing interesting patterns in the data is the goal of EDA, rather than testing for statistical significance. The course will also consider the recent critiques of conventional "significance testing" approaches that have led some journals to ban significance tests.

Students who take this course will hopefully get more out of their data, achieve a more balanced overview of data analysis in the social sciences.

  • To understand that the emphasis on statistical significance testing has obscured the goals of analysing data for many social scientists.
  • To discuss other ways in which the significance testing paradigm has perverted scientific research, such as through the replication crisis and fraud.
  • To understand the role of graphics in EDA
Factor Analysis Mon 1 Mar 2021   11:00 [Places]

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
Feminist Research Practice new Mon 1 Feb 2021   14:00 [Full]

This series of workshops are aimed at students interested in interdisciplinary and feminist research practice. The course revolves around a simple query: what makes research feminist? It is the starting point to engage with classic and more contemporary writings on feminist knowledge production to answer some of the following questions: what are the ‘proper’ objects of feminist research? Who can do feminist research? Why do we do feminist research, and what is its relevance? Who do we cite in our research? We will have in-class discussions and hands-on assignments that will allow students to practice some of the main debates we will read about.

This is an introductory course for students who have little or no prior training in statistics. 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 analyze 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
  • 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
  • The basics of formal hypothesis testing
  • Why statistical testing works
  • Statistical methods used to test simple hypotheses
  • How to use Stata

4 other events...

Date Availability
Mon 26 Oct 2020 10:00 Not bookable
Mon 26 Oct 2020 10:00 Not bookable
Wed 28 Oct 2020 10:00 Not bookable
Wed 28 Oct 2020 10:00 Not bookable
Further Topics in Multivariate Analysis (FTMA) 1 Tue 9 Feb 2021   14:00 Not bookable

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.

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Workshop Thu 5 Nov 2020   12:00 [Places]

This module is shared with Geography. Students from the Department of Geography MUST book places on this course via the Department; any bookings made by Geography students via the SSRMC portal will be cancelled.

This workshop series aims to provide introductory training on Geographical Information Systems. Material covered includes the construction of geodatabases from a range of data sources, geovisualisation and mapping from geodatasets, raster-based modeling and presentation of maps and charts and other geodata outputs. Each session will start with an introductory lecture followed by practical exercises using GIS software.

Introduction to Empirical Research Mon 12 Oct 2020   14:00 Finished

This module is for anyone considering studying on an SSRMP module but not sure which one/s to choose. It provides an overview of the research process and issues in research design. Through reflection on a broad overview of empirical research, the module aims to encourage students to consider where they may wish to develop their research skills and knowledge. The module will signpost the different modules, both quantitative and qualitative, offered by SSRMP and encourage students to consider what modules might be appropriate for their research and career development.

You will learn:

  • The research process and the different stages it might consist of
  • Issues related to research design
  • To consider what data you will need to address your research aims
  • To consider the best methods to collect and analyse your data
  • What modules are offered by SSRMP and how they might be appropriate to your needs
Introduction to Python Mon 23 Nov 2020   09:00 [Full]

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.

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