Summer School 2021
14 - 18 June 2021
This year the SGSSS Summer School will take place online! A series of live workshops and Q&A sessions will be delivered across five days (14 -18 June 2021) covering everything from advanced methods to employability and well-being.
The Summer School will be hosted through Social – our online platform from SGSSS that aims to facilitate and encourage communication, collaboration, and cohort building among social science researchers in Scotland. Social will enable you to network with other PhD students during the event and stay connected afterwards.
If you are unable to attend this year a repository of pre-recorded training is now available on Social and will be added to during the Summer School. We would encourage you to register for the platform, even if you are not able to attend the event, so you can gain access to these resources.
Please read the FAQs and review the workshop descriptions below. Registration links for these events will open on 26th May at 12 noon, accessed below.
Any queries about SGSSS Summer School 2021 can be directed to email@example.com
We look forward to welcoming you in June!
Introduction to Systematic Literature Search and Network Analysis for Literature Review
This workshop introduces students to systematic literature search on the Web of Science, analysing citation data, and citation network analysis for literature exploration. The primary purpose of this short course is to provide the skills and understanding necessary to pursue literature-based research projects. Originally designed for biomedical students at the University of Edinburgh, this course is now being made freely available for the SGSSS Summer School. The basic principles of review, systematic literature search, citation analysis, and the network analyses outlined throughout are generally transferable to most topics in the social sciences.
Introduction to Repeated Measures Designs for Social Sciences
Repeated measures designs from longitudinal studies are useful methods for examining how traits or behaviours change over time, why and for who. They are an effective method for expanding upon cross-sectional and panel designs and can be used to help improve inferences in fields such as psychology, medicine, epidemiology, sociology, education and public health. This workshop is aimed at participants from any of those disciplines (or others) who are interested in examining how things change over time and why. This workshop would be particularly useful for participants who are interested in Secondary Data Analysis (SDA).
Using Creative Methods in Qualitative Research
This is an informative, fun and interactive session that introduces you to what we mean by creative methods, and offers guidance on why, when and how you might use them in your research. It starts with an introduction to creative methods and how they relate to epistemological and ontological positions. Melanie Lovatt and Valerie Wright will then facilitate two interactive sessions - you can choose which one to take part in. One will focus on using fictional novels as a way to elicit new ways of thinking about the future. The other will consider how theatre can help to identify narratives of oppression and discrimination, and facilitate alternative narratives of resistance. By the end of the session you will have a greater understanding of how creative methods can generate new ways of sociological thinking, and how you might practically use them in your research.
How to Get Published in the Social Sciences
This workshop will be led by the University of Edinburgh’s Jamie Pearce who is the Editor-in-Chief of the interdisciplinary journal Health & Place. It will also include experienced reviewers, journal editors and journal managers working for publishing companies. The workshop will be very informal, and much of the discussion will be facilitated through break-out groups, plenary discussion, and sharing our experiences.
Online Teaching: Rethinking the Old Challenges or Creating the New Ones?
The introduction of COVID-19 restrictions in March 2020 has resulted in a pivot from in-person, face-to-face teaching, to learning and teaching happening online. This change in format came with many opportunities, as well as challenges. Our training event seeks to develop and/or improve online teaching skills of postgraduate teaching assistants (PGTAs) in a collaborative, peer-to-peer learning environment. Our own practical experience stems from engaging undergraduates in weekly seminar discussions on social science concepts and data both in person, as well as online.
Extending the Branch - Building Networks and Producing Impact Outside the Academy
Want to build networks with the private and third sectors? Keen to get your research disseminated in policy and media? Interested in producing impact with other organisations?
Barry and Paul are two final year PhD students who have for the past year been working with organisations outwith the Academy on a range of projects. Their work has included authoring a UK Parliamentary report, reviews for the British Red Cross and evaluation work with grassroots organisations. They have also made policy impact with their academic research, with both having their work informing questions raised by MSPs at First Minister's Questions.
Research Design in the Social Sciences
Research design is a core component of every good research paper, irrespective of is theoretical approach or type of empirical evidence (quantitative or qualitative) to be collected and analysed. Its importance derives from its features: provides a structure to the analysis, makes data collection systematic, guides readers through the logic of the research enterprise, and increases the reliability and transparency of the research endeavour. This course aims at providing an overview of available types of research design for empirical studies in social sciences so that students can make an informed decision about what matches best their theoretical approach and methodological needs. By using a hands-on approach, the course will show how theories can be tested through different research designs with different types of data, will investigate the implications and suitability of research designs, and will reveal how these designs can be best presented to broader audiences.
Researching is Emotional: Building Your Research Care Package
This workshop aims to create a space where we can discuss, with freedom and peer-support, a range of ethical issues that we could encounter during fieldwork, and a range of issues that make doing research more difficult. Some of the examples we draw upon may sound unusual, others will be very familiar. We will also how the traditional isolationist nature of PhD work, results in us individualising experience and internalising issues as a personal-failure. Given the context of academia, this workshop aims to offer possible frameworks of support.
Comparative Case Studies as a Research Design
Comparative case studies are a powerful research design to help test and build theories in all areas of social science. They help establish and test 'boundary conditions' as well as testing the limits of social theories in specific contexts. But they can be challenging to design and execute. Researchers can find themselves several stages into a comparative case design project without really having thought through what are the boundaries of the cases, what are the points of comparative similarity and difference, and what causal mechanisms we are 'looking for'. This can bring problems for the analytical and theory development stages of a project.
Discourse Analysis and Qualitative Research
This session will take students through an approach to interpreting qualitative research based on the discourse-historical view of Ruth Wodak (and others). It will take students through a range of different examples of texts, asking them in each case to consider the persons and objects under consideration, their characteristics, arguments deployed by actors, and the discursive strategies being utilised by those speaking and acting. It therefore will aim to get students understanding the importance of both the empirical and theoretical context of the text(s) under consideration, how detailed textual analysis can help us achieve additional analytical depth over the discursive strategies being employed, and what discourse analysis can contribute to a research project.
Introduction to Demography
In this course Dr Alan Marhsall will provide an introduction to demographic techniques and data. All students require is familiarity with Excel - the content is definitely introductory. The course is structured around analysing the demographic components of change (fertility, mortality and migration) and finishes with an introduction to the cohort component projection methodology.
Undertaking a Systematic Literature Review
This session will be led by Dr Anna Robb, Dr Beth Hannah and Dr Alexia Barrable. It will focus on systematic approaches for literature reviews. The session will consist of an overview of the systematic literature process, followed by a presentation where three researchers will discuss how they have put this into their practice, ending with a Q&A session.
Qualitative Research in Translation: Conducting Qualitative Research Collaboratively in LMIC Contexts
During this session, we will discuss four key elements of conducting qualitative research in LMIC settings, using case studies and examples from real-world research we have led and been involved in Malaysia, South Africa, Malawi and Kenya.
Working with Potentially Vulnerable Groups: Some Methodological and Ethical Considerations
This session will consider some of the key methodological and ethical issues that you might need to think about when working with potentially vulnerable groups. We will begin by considering the concept of vulnerability and what might make some of our participants vulnerable before going on to explore in detail some of the methodological and ethical safeguards we might put in place to ensure our research is as inclusive and participatory as possible.
Planning for your future: Insights from your strengths, values and PhD graduates
Over the last 12 months, we’ve all found ourselves in unfamiliar and uncertain situations. We’ve probably all learned a bit more about how we face challenges and what is important to us. In this workshop, you’ll have the chance to synthesise this learning, translate it into personal strengths and values and discuss what that means when thinking about your future post-PhD.
Life History Research: How History Shapes Lives
The workshop will consist of a synchronously delivered lecture followed by breakout groups in which participants will be able to relate issues raised in the presentation to their own research. Whether you are still at the research design stage or are busy with data analysis and whether or not you intend to undertake life history research after all, the session will help you reflect on rigour in qualitative interviewing, how we go from the individual to the more general, how we narrate our lives, and crucially how culture and history inflect research participants' narrations. Ultimately the session will aim to remind novice researchers of the critical dimension of qualitative research and how it can make visible social change and agency.
Decolonising our Practice in Qualitative (Health) Research
During this session, we will hear from Johannah Keikelame, who will discuss her own work on decolonising research methodologies, how she came to think and write about these issues, and lessons learned from a qualitative research project she was involved in in Cape Town, South Africa. This session will include a live Q and A session with Johannah, where students will have the opportunity to ask questions on this topic area to inform your own thinking and research practice. In addition, we will discuss approaches to decolonising research and how it applies to all aspects of the research process, from conceptualisation to dissemination and sustainability of research.
Designing a Survey
In this workshop we will consider a number of methodological considerations when designing and implementing a social survey including sampling, developing survey questions, handling sensitive topics, retrospective questions and dealing with challenges such as non-response. The session will include a practical opportunity to use Qualtrics although students will need to have access to that software.
Teaching Quantitative Methods for the First Time
Teaching quantitative methods for the first time can be a daunting task, particularly trying to strike the right balance between depth of detail, practical examples, and prior knowledge of the class. This session will offer a practical discussion around the realities of teaching quantitative methods from the undergraduate to post-graduate level. We will talk about best practices for achieving a productive learning environment, what you should expect from yourself, and what you might expect from your students.
Coming through COVID - what has happened to me and my PhD?
This workshop draws on a pilot project from Dr Beth Cross at University of West of Scotland called Homestretch. Homestretch experiments with the possibility of offering an online supportive space. It is partly based on the theory that playful activities can sometimes prompt serious insights and discoveries at depth. These practices draw on mindfulness but equally are resonant with a shift in research practice that engages with critical social materialist and post humanist insights. It also draws on the principle that we learn best from our experiences when given time to process and share.
Truth claiming - avoiding 'atrocity stories' and 'poverty safaris': a facilitated discussion of how we orientate ourselves toward qualitative data using two case studies
The purpose of this workshop is to understand different ways for researchers to orientate themselves toward qualitative data and, in particular, to consider different ways of being 'truthful' to those data. The facilitators will use two extended examples from their own work (an interview study of women's experiences of GP encounters following domestic abuse and a comparative ethnography of men's experiences of the social determinants of health). We focus on two types of practice that are positioned as risks within the literature: telling 'atrocity stories' and going on 'poverty safaris'. We will use our own examples to develop structured exercises for workshop participants and will have time for participants to reflect on their own qualitative data orientation.
Doing New Materialist Research
This workshop aims to introduce and explain what can be described as new materialist approaches to research. It aims to offer first an introduction to new materialist ontology, and second an explanation of how this might be translated into a research methodology in the social sciences.
Optimising the Use of Mobile Phones in Qualitative Research: Practical, Theoretical and Ethical Considerations
This training is dedicated to expanding attendees’ knowledge and skills related to effectively and ethically incorporating mobile phone technologies into qualitative or mixed-method research designs. There is a strong focus on the flexibility, pitfalls and equity implications of smartphone app-based research. Attendees will be offered practical examples highlighting key considerations in study design, multi-modal data collection, data management and analysis, ethics and procedural rigour. Attendees will be encouraged to critically examine the benefits and pitfalls of augmenting traditional qualitative research designs with mobile technologies such as mobile phone interviews, mobile phone surveys, mobile diaries, mobile ethnography and others.
Changing Research Plans: How to Move Forward in Times of Uncertainty
In this event, we will deliver a training programme that will equip research students with the skills to adapt their research to changing circumstances and uncertainty. We envision that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to impact research planning throughout at least the first half of 2021, hence we consider this event to be timely and relevant to a large number of students.
Doing Academia: How Feminist Principles Can Challenge Neo-Liberal Pressures in the Classroom and in Research
This training will be valuable to anyone committed to building excellent working spaces. Whether you are currently working as a graduate teaching assistant, or thinking of attending because of aspirations towards lecturing (or both), we hope to deliver space to think through barriers and challenges, and emerge feeling enabled.
Shared Dialogue Workshops in Multidisciplinary Research
Drawing on experiences from recent and current research projects this talk shall explore what a Shared Dialogue Workshop is, and why using them can be incredibly powerful in applied research projects. This presentation shall be especially relevant to those interested in projects which include social AND natural scientists, and/or those who want to build interlocker insight into an output-design process from day one of a project.
Natural Experiments in the Social Sciences
This session will introduce the use of natural experiments in the social sciences to provide potentially stronger evidence for causal claims than in observational quantitative studies. The training will describe why study design matters for causal claims and will present a selection of case-studies that employ natural experiments. Students will be introduced to the quantitative techniques used to analyse natural experiments and will provided with a hands on opportunity to apply a differences in differences analysis. Students will use Stata and must be familiar with this software (including the use of syntax) and have experience and understanding of generalised linear models. The training will be delivered through pre-recorded videos although the instructor will run a live online introduction at the start and a Q&A at the end. Some pre-course reading will be provided.
Working with Your Supervisor
Prof. Lydia Plowman, Dr. Scott Hurrell and Prof. Sue Fletcher-Watson draw on their experiences of supervising doctoral research students to reflect on progress throughout the PhD, from identifying your research topic through to submitting the thesis and preparing for the viva. They will discuss questions such as: What can I reasonably expect of my supervisor(s)? What can the supervisor(s) reasonably expect from me? How can I ensure a successful working relationship? What is the role of the second supervisor?
Conducting Research with LGBTQ+ People & the Significance of the Census
The LGBTQ+ community is a heavily researched group. However, issues still arise in how they are engaged with and represented. This workshop is broken down into two sections. The first section will feature a lecture and Q&A on the production of data on the LGBTQ+ community in the next round of censuses. The 2021/2022 censuses will be the first to ask about sexual orientation and gender modality. This will provide the first estimates of trans populations in Scotland, England and Wales and a more expansive understanding of sexual orientation demographics across the UK. For researchers, this is a crucial leap forward as it enables a better assessment of research representativeness.