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Social Sciences Research Methods Programme course timetable

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Mon 19 Feb – Fri 23 Feb

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Monday 19 February

10:00
Survey Research and Design (LT) (1 of 6) Finished 10:00 - 11:30 SSRMP pre-recorded lecture(s) on Moodle

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.

11:00
Factor Analysis (1 of 4) Finished 11:00 - 13:00 SSRMP pre-recorded lecture(s) on Moodle

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
14:00
Factor Analysis (2 of 4) Finished 14:00 - 16:00 Titan Teaching Room 1, New Museums Site

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
16:00
Survey Research and Design (LT) (2 of 6) Finished 16:00 - 17:30 University Centre, Hicks Room

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.

Introduction to Content Analysis (Group 3) new (5 of 5) Finished 16:00 - 18:00 SSRMP Zoom

Content analysis has been widely used to study different sources of data, such as interviews, conversations, speeches, and other texts. This module adopts an interactive approach, where students are introduced to the key elements of content analysis, how to conduct content analysis, and a range of examples of the use of content analysis. This module offers two practical workshops, where students have a hands-on opportunity to practice performing content analysis, followed by guided reflection.

Tuesday 20 February

09:00
Propensity Score Matching (1 of 2) Finished 09:00 - 13:00 Titan Teaching Room 1, New Museums Site

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.

10:00
Introduction to Using Action Research in Social Science new Finished 10:00 - 12:00 Titan Teaching Room 3, New Museums Site

This module offers an introduction to the use of action research in social sciences research. It includes an exploration of paradigmatic, methodological, practical, and ethical considerations.

14:00
Further Topics in Multivariate Analysis (FTMA) 1 (3 of 4) Finished 14:00 - 16:00 SSRMP pre-recorded lecture(s) on Moodle

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.

Further Topics in Multivariate Analysis (FTMA) 2 (2 of 3) Finished 14:00 - 16:00 SSRMP pre-recorded lecture(s) on Moodle

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.

Conversation and Discourse Analysis (2 of 4) Finished 14:00 - 15:30 Department of Genetics, Biffen Lecture Theatre

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.

16:00
Further Topics in Multivariate Analysis (FTMA) 1 (4 of 4) Finished 16:00 - 18:00 University Centre, Hicks Room

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.

Archival Research new (3 of 4) Finished 16:00 - 17:00 Titan Teaching Room 3, New Museums Site

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.

17:00
Semiotic and Cultural Semantic Analysis new (3 of 4) Finished 17:00 - 19:00 Sidgwick Site, Alison Richard Building, S1

The module aims to provide students with an introduction to semiotics and cultural semantics. It will overview semiotic and cultural sematic approaches to cultural, literary, and social studies. The focus is on key aspects of semiotics and cultural semantics, including their key concepts and usage in research design and objectives. The module will explore the differences between approaches as opposed perspectives on cultural symbolism. While illustrative examples are mainly drawn from cultural, visual, and literary research, the skills acquired through this module are also applicable to other topics and areas in the social sciences.

Outline

The module is structured into two lectures and two workshops, each lasting two hours:

  • Lecture 1: Introduction to Semiotics and Cultural Semantics
  • Lecture 2: Key Semiotic and Cultural Semantic Concepts and Methods
  • Workshop 3: Reconstruction of Cultural Code
  • Workshop 4: Social Semiotic in Visual Studies

Contents

Lecture 1 will cover a brief overview of semiotics and cultural semantics, introducing key terms and distinctions between semiotic and semantic approaches to cultural studies. It will address strategies for investigating cultural symbolism and the meaning-making process.

Lecture 2 will delve into widely used concepts in both fields, such as cultural meaning, cultural text, symbol, sign, elementary communication structure and sign structure. This focus is on understanding cultural semiosis, symbolisation, and the meaning-making process. The lecture will explore both approaches in discussing cultural values, meanings, texts, and artifacts.

Workshop 3 will teach students how to reconstruct cultural code as a key structure for understanding cultural symbolisation. It will include the practical examples of reconstructing the cultural code related to single motherhood through literary texts.

Workshop 4 will introduce recent studies in visual grammar, drawing on surveys in children’s picturebooks. This session aims to explore the application of social semiotics in visual studies, emphasizing the analysis of visual elements in cultural symbolism and meaning making.

17:30
Open Source Investigation for Academics (LT) new (5 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.

Wednesday 21 February

09:00
Structural Equation Modelling (1 of 2) Finished 09:00 - 13:00 SSRMP pre-recorded lecture(s) on Moodle

This intensive course on structural equation modelling will provide an introduction to SEM using the statistical software Stata. The aim of the course is to introduce structural equation modelling as an analytical framework and to familiarize participants with the applications of the technique in the social sciences.

The application of the structural equation modelling framework to a variety of social science research questions will be illustrated through examples of published papers. The examples used are drawn from recent papers as well as from publications from the early days of the technique; some use path analysis using cross-national data, others confirmatory factor analysis, and other still full structural models, to test particular hypotheses. Some example papers may be found below, though they should not be treated as the gold standard, rather as an illustration of the variety of approaches and reporting techniques within SEM.

  • Duff, A., Boyle, E., Dunleavy, K., & Ferguson, J. (2004). The relationship between personality, approach to learning and academic performance. Personality and individual differences, 36(8), 1907-1920.
  • Garnier, M., & Hout, M. (1976). Inequality of educational opportunity in France and the United States. Social Science Research, 5(3), 225-246.
  • Helm, F., Müller-Kalthoff, H., Mukowski, R., & Möller, J. (2018). Teacher judgment accuracy regarding students' self-concepts: Affected by social and dimensional comparisons?. Learning and Instruction, 55, 1-12.
  • Parker, P. D., Jerrim, J., Schoon, I., & Marsh, H. W. (2016). A multination study of socioeconomic inequality in expectations for progression to higher education: The role of between-school tracking and ability stratification. American Educational Research Journal, 53(1), 6-32.

Students will engage in a critique of such examples, with the aim of gaining a better understanding of the SEM framework, as well as its application to real-life data. To further facilitate this application focus, the theoretical introduction will be accompanied by practical examples based on real, publicly-available data.

Propensity Score Matching (2 of 2) Finished 09:00 - 13:00 Titan Teaching Room 1, New Museums Site

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.

13:00
Qualitative Interviews with Vulnerable Groups (LT) (3 of 3) Finished 13:00 - 15:00 University Centre, Hicks Room

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.

14:00
Data Visualisation Using Python new (1 of 2) Finished 14:00 - 16:00 SSRMP Zoom

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.

15:30
Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis (LT) (3 of 4) Finished 15:30 - 17:00 Lecture Theatre A (Arts School)

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.

Thursday 22 February

10:00
Evaluation Methods (7 of 8) Finished 10:00 - 11:15 SSRMP pre-recorded lecture(s) on Moodle

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.

Atlas.ti (2 of 3) Finished 10:00 - 13:00 Titan Teaching Room 1, New Museums Site

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.

14:00
Evaluation Methods (8 of 8) Finished 14:00 - 15:15 University Centre, Cormack Room

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.

15:30
Ethnographic Methods (4 of 4) Finished 15:30 - 17:00 Lecture Theatre A (Arts School)

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.

16:00
Reading and Understanding Statistics (LT) (4 of 4) Finished 16:00 - 18:00 SSRMP Zoom

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.

Friday 23 February

09:00
Time Series Analysis (1 of 2) Finished 09:00 - 13:00 Titan Teaching Room 3, New Museums Site

This module introduces the time series techniques relevant to forecasting in social science research and computer implementation of the methods. Background in basic statistical theory and regression methods is assumed. Topics covered include time series regression, Vector Error Correction and Vector Autoregressive Models, Time-varying Volatility, and ARCH models. The study of applied work is emphasized in this non-specialist module. Topics include:

  • Introduction to Time Series: Time series and cross-sectional data; Components of a time series, Forecasting methods overview; Measuring forecasting accuracy, Choosing a forecasting technique
  • Time Series Regression; Modelling linear and nonlinear trend; Detecting autocorrelation; Modelling seasonal variation by using dummy variables
  • Stationarity; Unit Root test; Cointegration
  • Vector Error Correlation and Vector Autoregressive models; Impulse responses and variance decompositions
  • Time-varying volatility and ARCH models; GARCH models
14:00
Time Series Analysis (2 of 2) Finished 14:00 - 18:00 University Centre, Cormack Room

This module introduces the time series techniques relevant to forecasting in social science research and computer implementation of the methods. Background in basic statistical theory and regression methods is assumed. Topics covered include time series regression, Vector Error Correction and Vector Autoregressive Models, Time-varying Volatility, and ARCH models. The study of applied work is emphasized in this non-specialist module. Topics include:

  • Introduction to Time Series: Time series and cross-sectional data; Components of a time series, Forecasting methods overview; Measuring forecasting accuracy, Choosing a forecasting technique
  • Time Series Regression; Modelling linear and nonlinear trend; Detecting autocorrelation; Modelling seasonal variation by using dummy variables
  • Stationarity; Unit Root test; Cointegration
  • Vector Error Correlation and Vector Autoregressive models; Impulse responses and variance decompositions
  • Time-varying volatility and ARCH models; GARCH models
Neurodiversity in Learning and Teaching new Finished 14:00 - 16:00 SSRMP Zoom

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.