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All Social Sciences Research Methods Centre courses

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Agent-based Modelling with Netlogo Tue 20 Feb 2018   14:00 Not 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.

Basic Quantitative Analysis (BQA-2) Mon 6 Nov 2017   10:00   [More dates...] Not bookable

This module 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). Building upon the univariate techniques introduced in the Foundations in Applied Statistics 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.

Bookings

All students wishing to book a place on this module must have either:

OR

before applying for a place.

Students will receive a confirmation email when their place is confirmed, but they can also check whether their application has been successful by typing their CRSid into the search box at the very top right of this page, hitting the enter key then clicking on their name. This will show all module(s) that they are booked onto, as applicable.


Bookings for this module can also be made via:

4 other events...

Date Availability
Mon 6 Nov 2017 10:00 Not bookable
Wed 8 Nov 2017 10:00 Not bookable
Wed 8 Nov 2017 10:00 Not bookable
Mon 22 Jan 2018 09:00 Not bookable
Causal Inference in Quantitative Social Research (Intensive) Wed 28 Feb 2018   09:00 Not bookable

The challenge of causal inference is ubiquitous in social science. Nearly every research project fundamentally is about causes and effects. This course will introduce graduate students to core issues about causal inference in quantitative social research, focusing especially on how one can move from demonstrating correlation to causation. The first lecture will define key concepts of correlates, risk factors, causes, mediators and moderators. The second lecture will discuss quasi-experimental research designs (studies without random assignment), and issues of “validity” in drawing causal conclusions. The third and fourth sessions will be lectures and practicals introducing two key analytic methods (propensity score matching and fixed effects regression models) that can be used to help identify causes. The course will focus on studies in which individual people are the basic unit of analyses, particularly longitudinal studies which follow the same people over multiple waves of assessment.

Comparative Historical Methods Tue 10 Oct 2017   16:00 Not bookable

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 23 Jan 2018   16:00 Not bookable

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.

Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis Tue 20 Feb 2018   13:30 Not bookable

The focus of these two sessions will be the linking of theory to method, paying particular attention to the relationship between language or other forms of representation or communication and the broader social milieu with special attention to power relations. The topic will be approached from a broadly Foucauldian angle: Foucault writes that discourse “consists of not—of no longer—treating discourses 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 these two lectures will be less upon what is known as ‘conversation analysis’ or ‘content analysis’ and more on methods based on post-positivist methods and critical theory which emphasize how language and other social practices create reality rather than reflect it, and thus methods of interpreting discourse are themselves not ideologically or politically neutral practices.

Doing Multivariate Analysis (DMA-1) Mon 20 Nov 2017   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.

Bookings

All students wishing to book a place on this module must have either:

OR

before applying for a place.

Students will receive a confirmation email when their place is confirmed, but they can also check whether their application has been successful by typing their CRSid into the search box at the very top right of this page, hitting the enter key then clicking on their name. This will show all module(s) that they are booked onto, as applicable.


Bookings for this module can also be made via:

3 other events...

Date Availability
Wed 22 Nov 2017 10:00 Not bookable
Wed 22 Nov 2017 10:00 Not bookable
Wed 24 Jan 2018 09:00 Not bookable
Doing Qualitative Interviews Tue 23 Jan 2018   14:00 Not bookable

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.

Ethnographic Methods Tue 20 Feb 2018   15:30 Not bookable

This module is an introduction to ethnographic fieldwork and analysis.

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.

This module 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.

Experimental Methods Tue 16 Jan 2018   14:00 Not bookable

This module is part of the Social Science Research Methods Centre training programme which is a shared platform for providing research students with a broad range of quantitative and qualitative research methods skills that are relevant across the social sciences.

The course will constitute a practical introduction to experimental method and design suitable for students from any discipline who have had limited experience of empirical methods but who wish to be able to read and understand the experimental literature or to undertake their own experimental studies. It will involve a theoretical introduction to the concepts and practices involved in experimental research in the human sciences, including ethical considerations; an introduction to experimental design and to appropriate analytic techniques; a practical component that can be undertaken away from the laboratory; and an introduction to issues involved in writing up results.

This course will show, in a very practical way, 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 lead 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.

Factor Analysis Mon 12 Feb 2018   10:00 Not bookable

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.

Foundations in Applied Statistics (FiAS-2) Mon 23 Oct 2017   10:00   [More dates...] Not bookable

This foundational course is for graduate students who have no prior training in statistics.

Topics covered include: the notion of variables and how they are measured; ways of describing the central tendency and the dispersion of a variable; and the principles of hypothesis testing and statistical significance. The course also introduces students to the software Stata. Each session consists of a lecture part, and a computer lab part with exercises in Stata.

Bookings

All students wishing to book a place on this module must have completed the SSRMC Skill Check before applying for a place.


Students will receive am email to confirm their place, but they can also check whether their application has been successful by typing their CRSid into the search box at the very top right of this page, hitting the enter key, then clicking on their name. This will show all module(s) that they are booked onto, as applicable.


Bookings for this module should be made via:

4 other events...

Date Availability
Mon 23 Oct 2017 10:00 Not bookable
Wed 25 Oct 2017 10:00 Not bookable
Wed 25 Oct 2017 10:00 Not bookable
Wed 17 Jan 2018 09:00 Not bookable

Introducing students to the general philosophical debates concerning scientific methodology; assessing their ramifications for the conduct of qualitative social research. To critically evaluate major programmes in the philosophy of sciences, considering whether there are important analytic differences between the social and natural sciences; and whether qualitative methods themselves comprise a unified approach to the study of social reality.

Further Topics in Multivariate Analysis (FTMA) Mon 29 Jan 2018   10:00 Not bookable

This module is an extension of the three previous modules in the Basic Statistics stream, covering the theory and practice of multivariate analysis. Students will gain deeper knowledge of interaction effects in regression models and its interpretation as well as introduction to ordered and categorical regression models. You will learn why and when to use interaction between explanatory variables, to do simple marginal effects of interaction variables, to understand the principles for employing multinomial and ordered categorical models, to perform simple models or these kind, and to interpret and write about your results intelligently. Half of the module is based in the lecture theatre, and covers the theory behind interaction effects, multinomial and ordered categorical models. The other half is lab-based, in which students will work through practical exercises using Stata statistical software.

All students wishing to book a place on this module must have either:

OR

before applying for a place.

Students will receive a confirmation email when their place is confirmed, but they can also check whether their application has been successful by typing their CRSid into the search box at the very top right of this page, hitting the enter key then clicking on their name. This will show all module(s) that they are booked onto, as applicable.


Bookings for this module can also be made via:

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Workshop new Thu 8 Feb 2018   14:00 Not bookable

This is an Open Access module, so please read the course description carefully before making a booking, and be advised that spaces may be limited. Students from the Department of Geography should note that they MUST make their booking via the Department; any bookings made for this module, here, by Department of Geography students, 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 bases around tools in GIS software packages (mainly ArcGIS).

Introduction to R (Lent) Tue 16 Jan 2018   14:00 Not bookable

This module introduces the use of R, a programming language originally developed for statistical data analysis. In this course, we will use R through R Studio, a user-friendly interface for R. Students will learn ways of reading spreadsheet data into R, the notion of data type, how to manipulate data in major data types, draw basic graphs, summarise data with descriptive statistics, and perform basic inferential statistics (e.g., t-test). This module is intended primarily for students who have no prior experience in programming. This course covers how to perform data analysis with R but does not introduce analytical techniques.

Introduction to Stata (Lent) Tue 30 Jan 2018   14:00 Not bookable

The course will provide students with an introduction to the popular and powerful statistics package Stata, a program commonly used in both social and natural sciences.

Introduction to Stata (Michaelmas) Tue 7 Nov 2017   14:00 Not bookable

The course will provide students with an introduction to the popular and powerful statistics package Stata, a program commonly used in both social and natural sciences.

Meta Analysis Mon 12 Feb 2018   16:00 Not bookable

Students are introduced to meta-analysis, a powerful statistical technique allowing researchers to synthesize 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.

Microsoft Access: Database Design and Use Tue 21 Nov 2017   14:00 Not bookable

These two sessions will provide a basic introduction to database management and analysis, using Microsoft Access and a set of historical datasets. The workshops will introduce participants to the use of Access’s menus and tool bars, viewing and browsing data tables, the creation of quick forms formulating queries, developing queries using Boolean operators, performing simple statistical operations, linking tables and working with linked tables, querying multiple tables, and data transformation.

Multilevel Modelling Wed 21 Feb 2018   09:00 Not bookable

Students are introduced to multilevel modelling techniques (a.k.a. hierarchical linear modelling). MLM allows one to analyse how contexts influence outcomes ie do schools/neighbourhoods influence behaviour.

Stata will be used during this module. No prior knowledge of Stata will be assumed.

Panel Data Analysis (Intensive) Wed 14 Mar 2018   09:00 Not bookable

This module provides an applied introduction to panel data analysis (PDA). Panel data are gathered by taking repeated observations from a series of research units (eg. individuals, firms) as they move through time. This course focuses primarily on panel data with a large number of research units tracked for a relatively small number of time points.

The module begins by introducing key concepts, benefits and pitfalls of PDA. Students are then taught how to manipulate and describe panel data in Stata. The latter part of the module introduces random and fixed effects panel models for continuous and dichotomous outcomes. The course is taught through a mixture of lectures and practical sessions designed to give students hands-on experience of working with real-world data from the British Household Panel Survey.

Practical introduction to MATLAB Programming new Mon 9 Oct 2017   10:00 Not bookable

This is an Open Access module, so please read the course description carefully before making a booking, and be advised that spaces may be limited.

The course focuses on practical hands-on variable handling and programming implementation rather than on theory. This course is intended for those who have never programmed before including those who only call/run Matlab scripts but are not familiar with how code works and how matrices are handled in Matlab. (Note that calling a couple of scripts is not 'real' programming.)

More information on the course can be found, here: http://www.psychol.cam.ac.uk/grads/grads/pg-prog/programming#section-0

Psychometrics Wed 25 Oct 2017   16:00 Not bookable

An introduction to the design, validation and implementation of tests and questionnaires in social science research, using both Classical Test Theory (CTT) and modern psychometric methods such as Item Response Theory (IRT). This course aims to enable students to: be able to construct and validate a test or questionnaire; understand the strengths, weaknesses and limitations of existing tests and questionnaires; appreciate the impact and potential of modern psychometric methods in the internet age.

This module is part of the Social Science Research Methods Centre training programme which is a shared platform for providing research students with a broad range of quantitative and qualitative research methods skills that are relevant across the social sciences.

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