Statistics Training for Social Scientists
Meeting of the Royal Statistical Society Social Statistics Section and the National Centre for Research Methods
In response to increasing concerns about the health of quantitative social science in the UK, ESRC has introduced a number of initiatives with the aim of promoting a step change in the quality and range of methodological skills and techniques used by the UK social science community. This meeting, jointly sponsored by the Social Statistics section of the RSS and NCRM, discussed these initiatives, the challenges faced in capacity building, and possible ways forward
- Statistics Training and ESRC (PowerPoint, 0.2 mb), Chris Skinner (Director of NCRM, Division of Social Statistics, University of Southampton)
This talk provided an overview of statistics training for social scientists currently supported by ESRC and its initiatives, including the National Centre for Research Methods. Some of the challenges in developing this provision will be discussed.
- Can't Count, Won't Count? Some Results from a national Survey of Student Attitudes to quantitative Methods (PowerPoint, 0.3 mb), Malcolm Williams (Methodological Innovations Research Group in the School of Sociology, Politics and Law, University of Plymouth)
For some time there has been concern in sociology (mainly anecdotally expressed) that students lack both ability and inclination toward learning and using quantitative methods. In 2006 the ESRC funded a study of the attitudes of students, in English and Welsh HEIs, toward numbers and quantitative methods. This presentation reported on the key findings of the study and contextualises it with a summary of an earlier phase of research with professional sociologists.
- The Development of Web-based Training Resources (PowerPoint, 0.2 mb), Damon Berridge (PowerPoint, 0.2 mb) (Centre for Applied Statistics, Lancaster University)
Described the development of a suite of disability-friendly web-based documents and videos, free to download from the web, based on the Centre's short course programme. This work was funded by the ESRC under the auspices of the Research Methods Programme. Also outlined the training component of the NCRM-funded Lancaster-Warwick Node: Developing Statistical Modelling in the Social Sciences.
- A Virtual Learning Environment for Multilevel Modelling (Office document, 383kB), Fiona Steele and Sacha Brostoff (Centre for Multilevel Modelling, University of Bristol)
Overview of the training activities carried out under the ESRC-funded NCRM node: Learning Environment for Multilevel Methodology and Applications ( LEMMA). Activities include the development of a virtual learning environment (VLE) or online course which contains tutorials, practical exercises, quizzes and videos. One feature of the VLE is that learners’ background information, responses to quizzes and web statistics on patterns of use will be analysed to inform future training strategies.