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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.

Atlas.ti Thu 26 Jan 2023   09:00 In progress

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.

Bayesian Statistics new Mon 6 Mar 2023   11:00 [Places]

« Description not available »

Conversation and Discourse Analysis Tue 14 Feb 2023   16:00 [Places]

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.

Data Visualisation Using Python new Wed 1 Mar 2023   14:00 [Full]

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.

This is the first in a series of three workshops, which extend last term's teaching on 'Decoloniality in Research Methods'. In each session, participants will be presented with a range of theoretical concepts as well as case studies from a variety of scholars who mobilise these concepts to shape their methodologies. At least half of each session will be dedicated to practical application – participants will be encouraged to engage in a range of individual and group reflections, discussions and exercises.

Participants will be encouraged to reflect on how decolonial thought affects each stage of their research project. Beginning with initial research design and literature reviews, and ending with dissemination and research impact, each session focuses on a different stage in the research cycle, bringing a range of decolonial thought and scholar-activism into conversation with our research methods.

Please note: Participants can choose whether to attend a single session or multiple sessions, as each will be a 'stand alone' workshop. However, each workshop must be booked sepaarately.

Workshop 1: Research design and the impact of (de)coloniality on our research projects

In this session we’ll place our disciplines in the historic context of their emergence and ask what implications this historicization has on our research in the present. We’ll then discuss a number of scholars who propose decoloniality and/or decolonisation as theoretical frames through which we can approach our research. In terms of practical skills, we’ll look to the emerging field of citational justice, asking how who and what we cite impacts the work we produce. We’ll also examine our research questions and explore their potential contributions to the reproduction of or resistance to deeper structures of power.

This is the second in a series of three workshops, which extend last term's teaching on 'Decoloniality in Research Methods'. In each session, participants will be presented with a range of theoretical concepts as well as case studies from a variety of scholars who mobilise these concepts to shape their methodologies. At least half of each session will be dedicated to practical application – participants will be encouraged to engage in a range of individual and group reflections, discussions and exercises.

Participants will be encouraged to reflect on how decolonial thought affects each stage of their research project. Beginning with initial research design and literature reviews, and ending with dissemination and research impact, each session focuses on a different stage in the research cycle, bringing a range of decolonial thought and scholar-activism into conversation with our research methods. Please note: Participants can choose whether to attend a single session or multiple sessions, as each will be a 'stand alone' workshop. However, each workshop must be booked separately.

Session 2: The role of ‘the researcher’ & the importance of reflexivity

In this session, we’ll discuss the notion of ‘reflexivity’, considering our disciplines, our roles as researchers within the University, and our experiences as individual researchers with our own life experiences and histories. We’ll then explore seven commonly used research methods (the development of ‘social theory’, quantitative analysis, ethnography, autoethnography, qualitative interviews, digital methods and archival research). We’ll ask what happens to these methods when we place them into a wider frame of decolonial analysis and look to other scholars who are using these methods to advance the goals of decolonization.

In terms of practical skills, participants will be encouraged to bring their own reflexive writing to the session, and we’ll explore how different theories relating to standpoint, positionality and intersectionality help us make sense of the approaches we are taking. Participants will be encouraged to bring an outline of their research methods and will work in thematic groups to place their methods in conversation with decolonial thought.

This is the third and last in a series of three workshops, which extend last term's teaching on 'Decoloniality in Research Methods'. In each session, participants will be presented with a range of theoretical concepts as well as case studies from a variety of scholars who mobilise these concepts to shape their methodologies. At least half of each session will be dedicated to practical application – participants will be encouraged to engage in a range of individual and group reflections, discussions and exercises.

Participants will be encouraged to reflect on how decolonial thought affects each stage of their research project. Beginning with initial research design and literature reviews, and ending with dissemination and research impact, each session focuses on a different stage in the research cycle, bringing a range of decolonial thought and scholar-activism into conversation with our research methods.

Please note: Participants can choose whether to attend a single session or multiple sessions, as each will be a 'stand alone' workshop. However, each workshop must be booked separately.

Session 3: From data collection to analysis to dissemination

In this session, we’ll begin with Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s (2012:226) claim that researchers ‘must get the story right as well as tell the story well’. We’ll think about what it means to analyse our data and create a product (a dissertation, research paper) which exists within the wider context of the academy. We’ll examine six different ways in which different researchers have oriented themselves towards their research, and their research towards the future (including an ‘ethics of care’, ‘rage anger and complaint’, ‘love, empathy, solidarity and desire’ and ‘action, speculation and movement’).

In terms of practical skills, we’ll think about our research outputs, the potential impacts of their design and dissemination and how these considerations might impact the earlier stages of our research projects, such as in the way we collect and store our data. Participants will also be encouraged to think about their own research orientation and place their project into a wider speculative context.

Diary Methodology Mon 6 Feb 2023   14:00   [More dates...] [Full]

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

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

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

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

1 other event...

Date Availability
Tue 7 Feb 2023 14:00 [Full]
Doing Multivariate Analysis (DMA 4) Fri 27 Jan 2023   10:00 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.

Doing Qualitative Interviews Tue 21 Feb 2023   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 Lent Term, the course is entirely virtual, comprising the online resources, supported by 3 x zoom Q&A sessions.

Ethnographic Methods Thu 2 Feb 2023   15:00 [Places]

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: Recording the field: Notes, Images, Sounds

Session 3: Intersubjectivity, Vulnerability and Collaboration

Session 4: Found Objects: Building and Reading an Archive

Evaluation Methods Thu 2 Feb 2023   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.

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 20 Feb 2023   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
Further Topics in Multivariate Analysis (FTMA) 1 Tue 7 Feb 2023   14:00   [More dates...] 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.

1 other event...

Date Availability
Tue 7 Feb 2023 14:00 Not bookable
Introduction to Python Tue 28 Feb 2023   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.

Introduction to R Wed 1 Mar 2023   10:00 [Standby]

This module introduces the use of R, a free programming language originally developed for statistical data analysis. In this course, we will use R through R Studio, a user-friendly interface. Students will learn:

  • Ways of reading data into R
  • How to manipulate data in major data types
  • How to draw basic graphs and figures with R
  • 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.

For an online example of how R can be used: https://www.ssc.wisc.edu/sscc/pubs/RFR/RFR_Introduction.html'''

Meta-Analysis Thu 9 Mar 2023   09:00 [Places]

In this module students will be introduced to meta-analysis, a powerful statistical technique allowing researchers to synthesize the available evidence for a given research question using standardized (comparable) effect sizes across studies. The sessions teach students how to compute treatment effects, how to compute effect sizes based on correlational studies, how to address questions such as what is the association of bullying victimization with depression? The module will be useful for students who seek to draw statistical conclusions in a standardized manner from literature reviews they are conducting.

Neurodiversity in Research new Fri 24 Feb 2023   14:00 [Places]

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.

Open Source Investigation for Academics new Tue 24 Jan 2023   17:30 In progress

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.

Propensity Score Matching Wed 15 Feb 2023   09:00 [Places]

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

Public Policy Analysis Mon 30 Jan 2023   14:00 In progress

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

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

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

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

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

1 other event...

Date Availability
Tue 7 Feb 2023 14:00 [Full]
Qualitative Research Rigour Mon 30 Jan 2023   09:00 In progress

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

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

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