School of Social and Political Science

Amanda Vettini

Job Title

PhD title: Should we be creating Jacks and Jills of all trades in social research?: Assessing responses to breadth and depth in postgraduate social science research methods training.


City (Address)


Country (Address)


Research interests

Research interests

Research methodology, Higher Education, Innovative Research Methods, Children and Families, Relationship breakdown and divorce, Research Methods Training


PhD Title: Has something got to give? Tensions and opportunities in achieving both a UK social science doctorate and ESRC-specified research and skills training 

PhD Research Topic

Training in research methods for social science researchers has altered fundamentally in recent decades, currently underpinned by changes in the ESRC’s postgraduate training guidelines in 2009 and 2015. This has been accompanied by devolving postgraduate studentship funding to Doctoral Training Partnerships (located in individual higher education institutions or a group of institutions). ESRC guidelines propose postgraduate training that emphasises breadth (for all social scientists to have a core set of methods skills), as well as retaining advanced subject or discipline specific training. This PhD research poses the question - is it truly possible to successfully achieve both breadth and depth in methods training, during doctoral study?

An assessment of this change in higher education policy is being conducted. The PhD research comprises a mixed-methods research design and utilises some less common methods, including walking interviews and video diaries.

A combination of the following methods were used:

  • Online questionnaires (employed researchers, Scottish Graduate School of Social Science postgraduate students)
  • Qualitative walking interviews (3rd/4th year PhD students)
  • Video diaries (Masters / 1st year PhD students)
  • Qualitative depth interviews (key senior individuals in policy and academia)
  • Documentary analysis of key documents

Documentary analysis of documents includes: Doctoral Training Centre / Partnership reports, current (and previous) ESRC postgraduate training guidelines, existing relevant datasets and previous research data, research role job specifications / researcher employee competency frameworks in different research sectors and examining research methods curricula in other universities will also be conducted.

Research participants include:

  • Social science postgraduate students at Edinburgh University
  • Doctoral Students in the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS)
  • Employed researchers at different career stages and in different sectors
  • Key people at relevant organisations such as: those on ESRC committees, AQMeN, Q-Step, the University of Edinburgh etc.

PhD Supervisors

Professor Graham Crow

Professor Vernon Gayle


M.A. Hons in Sociology 2:1, University of Edinburgh

MSc in Applied Social Research, University of Stirling

Postgraduate Certificate in Sociology, University of Edinburgh

PhD in Sociology, University of Edinburgh (pending)

Selected publications, conference presentations and teaching experience

Selected Publications

Vettini, A. (2018) Book review: What is diary method? Bartlett, Ruth and Milligan, Christine. Qualitative Research, Vol. 18, 2: pp. 248-250, March 20, 2018.

Available from:

Vettini, A. (2015) What should Edinburgh Napier University staff provide for students in advance of lectures?  Edinburgh: Edinburgh Napier University

Vettini, A. (2012) 'Relationship counselling: does relationship counselling improve the relationships of couples who are parents?' About Families Evidence Response Report. Edinburgh: CRFR, University of Edinburgh.

Cunningham-Burley, S.; Carty, A. Martin, C.; Birch, A. (2005) Sure Start Mapping: Report on the development and expansion of Sure Start Scotland services since 2001. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive.

Bhopal, R.; Vettini, A.; Hunt, S.; Wiebe, S.; Hanna, L.; Amos, A. (2004) 'Review of prevalence data in, and evaluation of methods for cross cultural adaptation of, UK surveys on tobacco and alcohol in ethnic minority groups.' British Medical Journal, VOL. 328, NO. 7431, JANUARY 10; 2004 pp 76-81. Available from:

Bancroft, A.; Carty, A.; Cunningham-Burley, S.; Backett-Milburn, K. (2002) 'Support for Families of Drug Users'. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive.

Vettini, A. (2002) Book review: Race’ and Childbirth. By Savita Katbamna. Pp. 151. (Open University Press, Buckingham, Philadelphia, 2000.) ISBN 0-335-19946-1, paperback. Journal of Biosocial Science, Volume 342, April 2002, pp 285-286.

Lecturing experience

Edinburgh Napier University - 'Introduction to Sociology' (Module leader and Principal lecturer) 2014-15, 2013-14

Edinbugh Napier University - 'Understanding Social Change' (Module leader and Principal lecturer)  2014-15, 2013-14 and 2012-13

Tutoring experience

University of Edinburgh - 'Sociology 2A: Thinking Sociologically', Senior Tutor, 2017-18

University of Edinburgh - 'Sociology 2A: Thinking Sociologically', Senior Tutor, 2016-17

Edinburgh Napier University - 'Understanding Social Science Research Methods', 2014-15, 2013-14 and 2012-13

Edinburgh Napier University - 'Introduction to Sociology', 2015-16, 2014-15, 2013-14

Edinbugh Napier University - 'Understanding Social Change',   2014-15, 2013-14 and 2012-13

University of Edinburgh 'Global Health' for medical students, (guest tutor) 2013-14, 2012-13

Student Supervision Experience

Edinburgh Napier University Student Final Year Honours Project Supervisor 2015-16


Shaw McFie Award for postgraduate study 2011-12

ESRC NCRM PhD funding 2015-2018

Conference/seminar presentations

'Should we be creating Jacks and Jills of all trades in social research?' (21st and 22nd March 2016). Paper presented at New Directions in Sociology Postgraduate Student and Staff Conference, University of Edinburgh

'Breakdown of parent couples' relationships: end of an era or a new beginning?' (26 April 2012). Paper presented at New Directions in Sociology: Postgraduate Student and Staff Conference, University of Edinburgh 

'Breakdown of parent couples' relationships: end of an era or a new beginning?: Methods, Theory and Ethical Issues' (February 2012). Paper presented at Advanced Issues Class Seminar, University of Edinburgh

'The Modern Family’ (January 2012). Lecture given at Sociology Writing Workshop, University of Edinburgh

‘Growing Up in Scotland (GUS) study:  rationale and intended policy impact' (2006) and 'Summing up and concluding remarks’. Presentation given at Scottish Government Seminar, Victoria Quay Edinburgh

‘Growing Up in Scotland’ (GUS): Conference Introduction' (2006) .  Presentation given at Year 1 Findings Conference, Edinburgh

'Preliminary Overview of ‘Growing Up in Scotland’ (GUS) study (September 2005). Presentation given at Government Social Research (GSR) Conference, London

‘Growing Up in Scotland’ (GUS) Introduction' (2005). Presentation given at Study Launch Event Seminar, Edinburgh

Works within