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Theme: Elements of Social Science Research

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Decoloniality in Research Methods new Tue 15 Nov 2022   11:00 Finished

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.

Digital and Online Research Methods Thu 19 Jan 2023   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.

Ethnographic Methods Thu 2 Feb 2023   15:00 In progress

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 In progress

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.
Feminist Research Practice Wed 9 Feb 2022   14:00 Finished

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.

Historical Sociological Methods Tue 25 Oct 2022   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.

Introduction to Empirical Research Thu 19 Jan 2023   16:00 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.

NB. This module has pre-recorded lectures which need watching before the live workshop session, advertised, below."

Mixed Methods new Mon 14 Nov 2022   14:00 Finished

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

Network Analysis new Wed 9 Nov 2022   10:00 Finished

Social Network Analysis (SNA) is “a distinct research perspective in the behavioural and social sciences” because it elevates relationships as the primary unit of analysis when attempting to understand and explain social phenomena (Wasserman and Faust, 1994, p. 4). This methods module will introduce you to network research tools used to explore the social constructs that surround all of us, continuously facilitating and frustrating our individual ambitions. Each of our three sessions will focus on a primary component of modern SNA: relational data collection, network visualisation, and descriptive network statistics and modelling. We will use real relational datasets from historical network studies. Participants will also be encouraged to develop their own relational data and complete a basic descriptive analysis and network visualisation of their data. This module will make use of web-based tools and open-source options in the R environment. However, no previous training in SNA methods or R will be assumed by the instructor.

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.

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.

Reading and Understanding Statistics Thu 2 Feb 2023   14:00 In progress

This module is for students who don’t plan to use quantitative methods in their own research, but who need to be able to read and understand published research using quantitative methods. You will learn how to interpret graphs, frequency tables and multivariate regression results, and to ask intelligent questions about sampling, methods and statistical inference. The module is aimed at complete beginners, with no prior knowledge of statistics or quantitative methods.

Research Data Security new Thu 23 Feb 2023   14:30 [Places]

This course introduces students to some of the legal issues around academic research involving personal data, and walks them through securing their research by conceptualizing and then assessing possible risks, followed by examining different ways to reduce those risks. This is delivered in a practical and non-technical way although there are some terms to do with risk assessment which may be unfamiliar to them. For this reason there is a relevant glossary provided for each session.

Research Ethics in the Social Sciences Wed 8 Mar 2023   15:00 [Places]

Ethics is becoming an increasingly important issue for all researchers, particularly in the covid-19 era. The aim of this session is twofold: (I) to demonstrate the practical value of thinking seriously and systematically about what constitutes ethical conduct in social science research; (II) to discuss the new valences of research in the pandemic era and develop new practices to tackle the insecurity it has created.

Two new sessions have been scheduled to replace previous ones which were cancelled.

Survey Research and Design Mon 20 Feb 2023   10:00 [Places]

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

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.

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.

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