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Social Sciences Research Methods Programme course timetable

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Tue 12 Mar – Tue 14 May

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March 2024

Tue 12
Open Source Investigation for Academics (LT) new (8 of 8) Finished 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.

Wed 13
A Critical Analysis of Null Hypothesis Testing and its Alternatives (Including Bayesian Analysis) (2 of 2) Finished 13:00 - 18:00 Department of Psychology, Psychology Lecture Theatre

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.

Thu 14
Equitable Research through Creative Methods new (3 of 3) Finished 10:00 - 12:00 Titan Teaching Room 3, New Museums Site

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.

April 2024

Tue 23
Doing Qualitative Interviews (1 of 3) [Places] 10:30 - 11:00 SSRMP Zoom

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.

Tue 30
Doing Qualitative Interviews (2 of 3) [Places] 10:30 - 11:00 SSRMP Zoom

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.

May 2024

Tue 7
Bayesian Statistics new (1 of 4) [Places] 10:00 - 12:00 SSRMP pre-recorded lecture(s) on Moodle

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.

Doing Qualitative Interviews (3 of 3) [Places] 10:30 - 11:00 SSRMP Zoom

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.

Bayesian Statistics new (2 of 4) [Places] 14:00 - 16:00 SSRMP Zoom

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.

Tue 14
Bayesian Statistics new (3 of 4) [Places] 10:00 - 12:00 SSRMP pre-recorded lecture(s) on Moodle

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.

Bayesian Statistics new (4 of 4) [Places] 14:00 - 16:00 SSRMP Zoom

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.