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Methods of Assessment

The aim of the course is to equip you with the tools necessary to not only understand quantitative research, but also to perform quantitative analysis yourself. The nature of the assessments is closely tied to this goal, and therefore, the reports are designed as a mix of work in substantive literature, and an application of the quantitative tools you have acquired throughout the module.

The assessment is split into two reports, each of which forms 50% of your mark. Please find the specification of these reports below. For the respective deadline, please consult the UG handbook which applies to you.



  1. Choose a statistical concept you find interesting, and that is relevant to the social sciences (not democracy or inequality from the seminars).
  2. Find a relevant data set (for suggestions, please click here).
  3. Locate relevant variables in your data set.
  4. Seek approval of the concept, the data set, and selected variables from your module director. Ensure you have obtained clearance by XX.XX.2014. Do not leave this to the last minute, it can take a while to find an appropriate concept / data set.
  5. Write a report of not more than 2,500 words (not including graphs, tables, figures, or bibliography) according to the following guidelines:

Report content:

Your report will consist of two components. You can handle these separately, or combine them, depending on what suits your argument best.

  1. A discussion of your concept. This should include the following information:
  • The relevance of this concept in social science research.
  • An explanation of the concept to a non-expert.
  • A review of the extent to which this concept is easy, difficult or problematic to operationalize and measure. (You may wish to use examples in Part B to illustrate your discussion with concrete examples.)

Be sure to include references to the relevant literature in this discussion.

2. A presentation of descriptive statistics of the variables relevant to your concept. Be sure to include graphs to visualize the data. Use your knowledge from the module to select the relevant statistics and to present / visualise the data as appropriate Again, use literature to back your argument up, if necessary.


Assessment due date: 03.12.2014

Deadline for approval of concept and data set: 10.11.2014

ASSESSMENT 2 - How do socio-demographic factors influence income in the UK?

  • Research Question: How do socio-demographic factors influence income in the UK?
  • Task: Develop a report of no more than 2,500 words (excluding graphs, tables and footnotes). As a guide, the report is expected to outline the following six issues:
  1. Introduce the Research Question explaining how it relates to existing research and how you will test the expectations of theory based on a Literature Review
  2. Develop up to three testable hypotheses out of the theoretical framework adopted
  3. Operationalisation & measurement of theoretical concepts
  4. Methodology. What specific techniques will you use?
  5. Analysis of the data, interpretation of results
  6. Discussion and Conclusions: What are the implications of your results for the theory? Is it supported/falsified? Recommendations for improving future research? 


Understanding Society - Wave A

Understanding Society - Wave B

Understanding Society - Wave C

Notes on the Data Sets