View the latest news from departments within the Faculty of Social Sciences below.
We are delighted to be 1st in the country for our Learning Community in Linguistics.
The Sheikh Family Scholarship
We are pleased to announce The Sheikh Family Scholarship is now formally open to exceptional students on the Postgraduate Award in Islamic Education. The scholarship is available from the generous donation from COSARAF Foundation https://www.cosaraf.org/ to enable students who are facing financial hardship to continue on to the MA Religions, Society & Education (Islamic Education) programme at Centre for Education Studies. Successful candidates will be first-generation university students and who demonstrate the scholarship will make the most difference. For 2018, the invitation for applicants extends only to students who successfully complete the Postgraduate Award in Islamic Education and have been accepted onto the MA Religions, Society & Education (Islamic Education). Further details here https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/ces/postgrads/taught/introductionislamiceducation/sfscholarshipapp
CEDAR's first PhD
Although CEDAR staff have supervised PhDs in other departments for many years, the Education and Psychology PhD programme in CEDAR was established only in 2014. The first student to graduate from the programme is Jon Painter from Sheffield Hallam University who completed a PhD by published works. Pictured (from left to right): Dr Laurence Taggart (External Examiner), (Dr) Painter, Professor Richard Hastings (PhD supervisor), and Professor John Rose (External Examiner).
Professor David Stark (CIM) and Professor Nick Chater (WBS) Event
If you’re planning to come onto campus over the vacation period, please remember that the University will be running on a limited service, with full shut down on some days.
Dr Daniel Sgroi talks about his research interests and his work with the World Wellbeing Panel
What are your research interests and what current research projects are you are involved in?
I was originally an economic theorist and I retain an interest in trying to understand how people act in different situations. These days I tend to use experiments to get at what is underpinning people’s behaviour. I have around ten or so projects at different stages and most include either laboratory or field experiments. To give some examples, I am working with some of my students to try to understand how mindfulness changes the way we think, and on the role of personality in how we form beliefs about others, and with a former student (now in Oxford) on why people might ignore good advice. I am also running a field experiment attempting to understand what motivates people to become organ donors. A lot of my other work relates to subjective wellbeing, or happiness: for instance, my first paper on the subject established that happier people are more productive, but more recently I have work that shows that happier people can also be less cooperative! This was something of a surprise but actually fits in with some recent work in neuroscience on the way happier people think.
You were invited to join the World Wellbeing Panel – could you tell us more about this
The World Wellbeing Panel is a one-of-a-kind group of some of the leading “happiness economists” in the world including people like Richard Easterlin (who pretty much founded the area and is known for his paradox: that richer nations are not necessarily filled with happier people), Richard Layard, and my colleagues at Warwick, Andrew Oswald and Nick Powdthavee. The idea is that each month we are asked questions drawn up by academics, policy-makers or journalists about happiness and policy. For instance, a recent question we were asked concerned the role of gender stereo-types and their effect on happiness, and it was interesting to see so many different opinions from the panel.
Why did you choose to become a researcher?
I have always loved puzzles and to me that is what research is all about: solving puzzles. I spent a year in the mid-1990s as an economic consultant. It mainly entailed using other people’s research to support the activity of large businesses. It was an interesting enough job but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was missing something. To keep the puzzle analogy going, I think when I was a consultant I was still trying to solve puzzles but using the solutions developed by other people and that was just not satisfying enough. Now I am still playing the same game, but this time I am working out the answers myself (or working them out with the help of other researchers who are willing to work with me!)
For instance, I mentioned a project I am working on right now that looks at why people ignore good advice. This is a genuine puzzle and I now have a better feel for why people will often accept lower payoffs rather than take advice and do things differently. It seems to be related to the “sunk cost fallacy” (people feel that they have invested in their beliefs and so are reluctant to change them even if they know it would benefit them to do so) and also psychological factors like envy and self-esteem.
What has been the impact of your research nationally and internationally?
The work I undertook with Andrew Oswald and Eugenio Proto on the positive effects of happiness on productivity in the workplace has had a lasting impact, at least it seems to remain a topical issue for the media if that is any indication. I think we have now well over a hundred and fifty news stories on our research spanning several years and many countries, and there are still media hits coming out every month. We know that managers and firms are considering how to change working environments to capitalise on decades of research in this area and hopefully the media excitement about our work is bringing it to the attention of employers who will find our contribution useful. Certainly when we have gone out and talked with private and public sector managers and practitioners they seem very enthusiastic: for example, an event organised by CAGE and the Social Market Foundation in London a few years ago was packed, though perhaps right now (with Brexit on the horizon) happiness and productivity is not foremost on their minds.
More recently, I have been working on building an index of national happiness using text: we have a reasonable measure of national happiness for recent decades based on survey data but nothing for the past, and by examining what people read and wrote we think we can provide an interesting way to trace how national happiness has evolved over a period of centuries. My co-authors (Eugenio Proto and Thomas Hills) and I have spent a fair bit of time promoting this project everywhere we can (the World Bank, Treasury, Office of National Statistics and many other places besides) and hopefully when our final efforts see print (the work is under revision for a journal right now) we will be able to convince people to start using it to better understand what has been driving national happiness over the last 200 years.
What has been your most memorable experience during your time in the department?
Warwick Economics is a big and busy department with so much happening and it has been great to be a part of it. I don’t think I would be working on subjective wellbeing if it wasn’t for Andrew Oswald’s influence, and I have enjoyed working with Andrew and Eugenio a great deal. I loved speaking at the CAGE policy launch for our “Understanding Happiness” briefing report: being on a panel with the former cabinet secretary (Lord O’Donnell) and the then head of the Government Economic Service (Sir Dave Ramsden) was a fantastic experience, and being invited to join the World Wellbeing Panel was a nice form of recognition. One of the most fun times I had was actually when I was on leave at the Centre for Experimental Social Science in Oxford: it was great returning to Oxford as a Warwick person, seeing one of the oldest universities in the world with the perspective bestowed on me by one of its youngest rivals. I also enjoy teaching and was very happy to receive a University teaching commendation: there are countless great teaching moments that stick in my memory and it is hard to beat a standing ovation after a good lecture!
However, if I am being honest there is one clear winner over the last 11 years at Warwick: the birth of my son in 2009. Since I need to somehow link that to the department, then let me say coming along to a staff and family event organised by the department, with my new-born son wearing his “microeconomist” sleepsuit!
ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize 2019
The 2019 Celebrating Impact Prize is now open for applications. This is ESRC’s annual opportunity to recognise and reward ESRC-funded researchers who’ve created or enabled outstanding impact from social science research.
The Prize is open to current and previous ESRC-supported researchers, including doctoral students, and there are six Prize categories including Outstanding Early Career Impact.
We celebrate researchers at all career stages whose actions have supported changes in practice, thinking or capacity that create a positive impact in our society, economy and in our lives, in the UK and internationally.
All finalists have a film professionally made about their work and its impact, and winners are awarded £10,000 to spend on further knowledge exchange, public engagement or other impact related activities.
The deadline for applications is 16:00 on Tuesday 8th January 2019. More information and application forms can be found at https://esrc.ukri.org/research/celebrating-impact-prize/
IER to host an event discussing job quality and working life in the UK
In mid-January IER will host a meeting of the Working Life Engagement and Improvement Group. The group was established in 2018 by social scientists committed to using insights from social science to advance the quality of jobs and working life in the UK.
For further details contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professor Andrew Sanders has been appointed as the new Chair of Warwick Law School.
Andrew will formally take office on 1 January 2019 taking over from Vanessa Munro who has been chair of the department since January this year and doing a fantastic job.
We are delighted to announce that the Department of Politics and International Studies (PAIS) is ranked 1st of 83 UK Politics departments in the The Times/The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019. This influential national league table reflects latest data, including student satisfaction (NSS) research excellence, and graduate prospects.
The University of Warwick is ranked 10th overall — a University press release can be found here.
Our latest position in The Times/The Sunday Times follows on from other great successes over the summer. We achieved 95 per cent in the National Student Survey (NSS), and saw a further increase in graduate employment prospects. 97 per cent of 2016/17 graduates were working or in further study. Moreover, 91 per cent of those were in graduate level work or study.
Dr Juanita Elias, Head of PAIS, commented:
‘Without a doubt, staff and students in PAIS will be delighted with this incredible result. The number one ranking in the 2018 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide league table is testimony to the hard work and dedication of all PAIS staff over the years. In PAIS we are committed to a research-led approach to teaching – this provides students with an unparalleled learning experience in which they are exposed to some of the most pressing debates in national and international politics today. With the start of term imminent, we look forward to welcoming our new intake of students who will no doubt benefit from the first class learning environment on offer in PAIS. Congratulations to all staff and students on this impressive achievement!’
We thank all staff and students who have contributed to this outstanding achievement. With a number of exciting and ambitious plans for the 2018/19 academic year and beyond, we look forward to sustaining and building on these successes in the months and years ahead.
New Appointment: Lucy Campbell, Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow
Lucy Campbell has joined the Department as a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow. Lucy completed her PhD in Cambridge in 2015, and has previously held teaching positions in Oxford (2017-18) and in Edinburgh (2015-16) and an Analysis Studentship also based in Oxford (2016-17). Lucy's research interests are in philosophy of mind and action, in epistemology, and - especially - in the intersection of these areas. Her thesis 'Action, Intention, and Knowledge' and subsequent publications develop accounts of our practical and psychological self-knowledge. Lucy's Leverhulme Fellowship at Warwick develops a new approach to understanding propositional knowledge which she calls 'Epistemological Pluralism'. She is also continuing her work in action-theory, especially in relation to Elizabeth Anscombe.
The Department of Sociology will be closed for the Christmas period from 4pm on Friday 21st December and will reopen at 8.30am on Wednesday 2nd January 2019.