Are you interested in developing the practical skills and technical understanding needed to carry out the kinds of analyses of social survey data that feature in published academic work? Or are you simply keen to be able to understand how researchers doing statistical analyses reached their conclusions? This module builds upon the foundations provided by the Year 2 module Practice of Quantitative Research, giving you an opportunity to extend and apply your research skills, and to develop your abilities as a research practitioner and as a critic of the research of others.
In particular this module takes you on from a starting point of being able to identify relationships using statistical tests to a point where you can explain relationships using other measures. So can differences between the educational achievements of children from different family types be understood in relation to the differing material resources of such households? Multivariate techniques are forms of statistical analysis, involving three or more measures simultaneously, that allow such questions to be answered. They have been used in many important sociological studies, such as the classic studies of social class mobility in Britain. More advanced techniques allow one to look at things like outcomes that occur after varying periods of time (or not at all), such as divorce, but still taking into account different explanations, such as how old someone was when they got married and whether they had lived with anyone else in the past.
Students taking this module get to examine published articles, to see how authors have used statistical techniques, and to assess whether they have done so in an appropriate way. Not all quantitative research that is published is free from errors and limitations! But more importantly, students have the opportunity to use powerful but user-friendly statistical software to analyse real data from important social surveys, both as part of the teaching in the module and also when they are doing projects as part of the module assessment.
Timing and CATS