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Unit information: Further Quantitative Methods in 2020/21

Unit name Further Quantitative Methods
Unit code SPOLM0016
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Eroglu-Hawksworth
Open unit status Not open

Participants should usually have already taken the unit ‘Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods in the Social Sciences’ (SPOLM0015), or be able to demonstrate equivalent expertise.



School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


Analysing Quantitative Data

This unit builds upon the new DTC module, Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods in the Social Sciences (SPOLM0015), by focusing upon techniques for the analysis of quantitative data. The unit covers three main topics:

  • The practice of secondary data analysis using survey sources based upon a range of statistical methods and ‘hands-on’ exercises using SPSS
  • The circumstances in which particular techniques can be applied and the strengths and weaknesses of different methods in informing policy and practice
  • The interpretation of quantitative data and the dissemination of results in accessible ways which can inform policy and practice.

Intended learning outcomes

Upon completion of this unit student should be able to:

  • Use descriptive methods in order to explore the properties of quantitative data and select an appropriate strategy of analysis for data of different types
  • Analyse the relationship between variables using a range of parametric and non-parametric approaches
  • Compare groups of cases using both parametric and non-parametric tests
  • Demonstrate awareness of the strengths and limitations of statistical evidence in informing policy and practice
  • Apply principles for the effective dissemination of quantitative evidence to policy and practitioner audiences using appropriate data visualisation methods

The summative assessment tests all of the ILOs and accounts for 100% of the unit mark.

Teaching details

The unit will be delivered through blended learning involving a combination of lectures, group discussion and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Details

The summative assessment tests all of the ILOs and accounts for 100% of the unit mark.

Formative assessment will be primarily by means of student presentations delivered as part of the teaching program. Students will be asked to work in small groups to design a strategy for researching a key social policy problem (e.g. poverty and wellbeing) based on secondary survey data. Students will be asked to present their proposed research and will have an opportunity to receive feedback.

Summative assessment will be by means of a written assignment of not more than 4,000 words. Students will be asked to apply the knowledge and skills they have developed during the course of the unit to an exploration of a key social policy problem using secondary survey data

Reading and References

  • Bryman, A. and Cramer, D. 2011. Quantitative Data Analysis with SPSS 17, 18 and 19: A Guide for Social Scientists. London: Routledge.
  • Dorling, D. and Simpson, S. eds. 1999. Statistics in Society: The Arithmetic of Politics. London: Arnold.
  • Field, A. 2018. Discovering Statistics Using IBM SPSS Statistics. 5th Edition. London: Sage.
  • Levitas, R. and Guy, W. eds. 1996. Interpreting Official Statistics. Routledge: London.
  • Marsh, C. and Elliott, J. 2008. Exploring Data: An Introduction to Data Analysis for Social Scientists. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Tufte, E. (1990). Envisioning Information. Connecticut: Graphics Press.