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Introduction to Quantitative Methods in Social Science (QS101)

Topics covered

The following is an indicative list of topics for this module; precise seminar content may change from year to year.

  • Conceptualisation, operationalisation and measurement
  • Data and data sets
  • Descriptive statistics
  • Sampling
  • Cross tabulations
  • Statistical significance
  • Measures of association
  • Linear and multiple regression

Is there a relationship between economic development and levels of democracy? What determines the onset of civil war? Is there a gender gap in income? Has it widened? Why has it developed the way it has? All these are interesting research questions in social science, but in order to answer them, we need to overcome a few hurdles.

First, we need to be clear about the concept we use. Take economic development, for example, is it enough to only look at per capita GDP? Do we have to look at levels of education, or at health, as well? If so, how do we measure health?

Secondly, how do we find out whether there is a relationship between two concepts, such as economic development and democracy? Which tools are available to establish such a relationship? Which of these is the most appropriate?

In the age of ever-increasing data availability which is paired with a growing sophistication of statistical techniques, the opportunities for social science research are vast. This module will provide you with a solid grounding in the quantitative tools necessary to become a competent scholar of the social sciences. Focusing on research-led teaching, allowing students to pursue their own substantive interests, the module will cover the following topics (note that this is a selection, course content may vary from year to year):

Module Director:
Florian Reiche