City Q-Step Centre
Q-Step is a £19.5 million programme designed to promote a step-change in quantitative social science training. Over a five-year period from 2013, 15 universities across the UK are delivering specialist undergraduate programmes, including new courses, work placements and pathways to postgraduate study. Expertise and resources will be shared across the higher education sector through an accompanying support programme, which will also forge links with schools and employers.
City Q-Step Centre is based in the Department of Sociology at City, University of London. We will be working with the following undergraduate programmes in the departments of Sociology and International Politics: Criminology, Sociology, Criminology and Sociology, Media and Sociology, Sociology with Psychology and (from 2015/16) International Politics, International Political Economy and International Politics and Sociology.
City Q-step Centre is devoted to building data literacy in the social sciences.
We live in a data-rich society. Increasingly jobs require data management and analysis skills. City Q-Step will ensure that our graduates have the technical knowledge and experience to flourish in this job market. Find out more at the British Academy Guide to Maximising Your Prospects
To be an active citizen we need to be informed and form judgements about the world based on critical reasoning skills. You will work with real world data to gain the skills to reach your own conclusions and confidence to become actively engaged in your community, politics and society.
Social Science Expertise
If you are considering advanced training in a social science discipline it's essential to have the right methodological foundations. City Q-Step will ensure that, whatever your background, you develop the competence in quantitative methods necessary to pursue further studies. More at British Academy and ESRC
Developing data analysis skills opens up new ways of thinking, whether this is through working with international experts in comparative research or with partner institutions. You will have the chance to think about cutting edge topics and do hands-on analysis that puts you at the forefront of social science thinking.
Following an open competition, launched in October 2013, City University London was one of only 15 universities across the UK to receive a share of £19.5 million from the Nuffield Foundation, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), to establish a Q-Step Centre. City has links with the Universities of Edinburgh and Cardiff, which will provide students from the three universities opportunities to work together virtually and participate in organised visits.
Which degree programmes are involved?
The following degree Programmes will benefit from City Q-Step, including new data literacy modules, more teaching resources, increased labs and the embedding of quantitative methods:
- BSc (Hons) Criminology
- BSc (Hons) Sociology
- BSc (Hons) Criminology and Sociology
- BSc (Hons) Media Studies and Sociology
- BSc (Hons) Sociology with Psychology
- BSc (Hons) International Politics (from 2015/16)
- BSc (Hons) International Political Economy
What will Q-Step involve?
- We have lots of great lecturers who will show you how to use interviews, analyse discourse and employ a range of other research methods.
- It's just about ensuring that every student has the confidence to use quantitative methods should they want to. Even if you've always thought you were 'rubbish at maths'.
- We will do this by providing enriched relations with business, community and academic data users. And lots of hands-on opportunities for you to work with data.
City Q-Step will not mean that you have to use quantitative methods in your dissertation. It is not about forcing one way of doing things on you.
New quantitative methods pathways
From 2014/15 all students enrolling on a Sociology Department course will have the option to apply to join one of the following QM pathways at the end of their first year of study.
- Criminology with Quantitative Methods
- Sociology with Quantitative Methods
- Criminology and Sociology with Quantitative Methods
- Media and Sociology with Quantitative Methods
Students on a QM Pathway will, alongside their substantive modules, study quantitative analysis of social research data, data visualisation, comparative survey analysis and advanced quantitative methods. All pathway students will undertake a graded research placement in a partner institution and will have the opportunity to apply for an international placement in the summer between their second and third years of study.
Enriched relations with business, community and academic data users
- Visiting speakers and 'supporters'
- Visits for students
- Placements (assessed) for all pathway students
- Annually, four funded summer internships abroad (at institutions across Europe) per year (between Year 2 and 3)
- Organised activities (Data Dives, Seminar Series, Inter-university networks)
NatCen Social Research, the UK's leading independent social research agency, to host student placements. NatCen's research staff will also be sharing their experience of some of the UK's most challenging research studies with students through workshops, career advice sessions and lectures.
Other partner organisations include, amongst others, British Transport Police and Project Oracle.
Building on a tradition of excellence in quantitative social science
In the 1990s the Social Statistics Research Unit at City University was home to the National Child Development Study (NCDS) and oversaw the 5th (1991) sweep of this pioneering cohort study. From 2001 the Social Research Methodology Centre provided a forum for research training and methodological research within the University and the wider social research community in London. City Q-Step Centre builds on the University's long-standing expertise in quantitative methods (QM). The Centre for Comparative Social Surveys (CCSS), founded by the late Sir Roger Jowell, houses the award-winning European Social Survey (ESS), a 36 country pan-European survey of attitudes and values.
Students will work with experts from the CCSS in questionnaire design and to learn how a questionnaire is adapted and implemented across Europe. City Q-Step Centre gives students in social science the unique opportunity to be taught by world-leading experts in data visualisation from giCentre in City's Department of Informatics.
City Q-Step Coordinator: Dr Rachel Cohen, Senior Lecturer in Sociology
Dr Matt Barnes, Lecturer in Sociology (Quantitative Data Resources)
Dr Jason Dykes, Professor of Visualization
Dr Vanessa Gash, Senior Lecturer in Sociology
Dr Katrin Hohl, Lecturer in Criminology
Dr Carrie-Anne Myers, Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology
Dr Faiza Qureshi-Grew, Lecturer in Sociology
Dr Sally Stares, Lecturer in Sociology (Quantitative Methods)