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School of Social and Political Science: Research


Quantitative Teaching and Research

The Quantitative Methods Research Group is a School-wide cluster of staff, researchers and postgraduates using quantitative methods in research and teaching. Current members are from Politics & International Relations, Sociology and Social Policy. The group is open to all staff, researchers and students in the School of Social and Political Science who use or are interested to learn more about quantitative methods.

If you are interested to join or would like additional information about the group or forthcoming events please contact Alison Koslowski.

Recently conducted Seminars

The Effects of Rising Tuition Fees in England on Fair Access to More Prestigious UK Universities

Speaker: Dr Vikki Boliver (University of Durham)
Date and time: 15th Feb 2013, 15:00 to 16:30
Venue: Seminar room 1, CMB, 15a George Square

Class-size Reduction Policies and the Quality of Entering Teachers

Speaker: Dr Steven Dieterle (University of Edinburgh)
Date and time: 19th Feb 2013, 16:00 to 17:30
Venue: Seminar room 5, CMB, 15a George Square

The adoption of large-scale class-size reduction (CSR) policies has been a common education policy aimed, in part, to help improve student achievement. However, quasi-experimental evaluations of such policies have typically not found large achievement gains. One explanation is that the introduction of new class-size requirements forces schools to hire additional teachers, including some that contribute less to student achievement gains. This lecture uses data from an anonymous US state to explore whether the mathematics value-added of newly hired teachers fell after the introduction of CSR. We find that the average value-added of the larger post-CSR hiring cohorts did fall, but not nearly enough to explain the failure of CSR. Furthermore, between-school differences in the value-added quality of incoming teachers cannot explain the poor estimated CSR performance from previous quasi-experimental treatment-control comparisons.

Data Drop-In Clinic

We have begun offering a drop-in clinic for all PGR students and staff interested to acquire advice on quantitative methods training, analysis, data and software. The first drop-in clinic took place 24 April 2012.

At the moment, drop-in clinics take place at the group's committee office hours.

The drop-in clinic is for you if:

  • have a research topic and a hunch that data are available but are not sure where to track them down
  • are looking for information on training events in Edinburgh, Scotland or UK on particular statistical techniques or software
  • need help decoding error messages produced by your statistical software
  • want to track down other people within SPS who are using particular approaches, datasets, or software
  • want help tracking down an RA to perform statistical analysis
  • have a dataset but are not sure if a particular technique is useful (or inappropriate)
  • have any other questions related to data, statistics or software.

If you have any questions please contact Alison Koslowski.

Previous events

Our spring 2012 research seminar was held Wednesday, 9 May 2012, 11-1pm, Seminar room 4, CMB

Jan Eichhorn, John MacInnes and Paul Whybrow "Quantitative Methods in British Sociology: evidence of a 'critical deficit'?"

Our inaugural research seminar was held Tuesday, 29 Nov 2012, 1-2pm, Seminar room 1, CMB.

Andy Thompson "Is the maturity of hospitals' quality improvement systems associated with measures of quality and patient safety"

Our inaugural data café was held Tuesday 6 Dec 2012, 1-2pm, 6th floor common room, CMB

The data café involved staff and PGR students interested to learn more about the Quantitative Methods research group, to identify datasets for their research, or to acquire advice on methods (or software or books or training).