ESRC Festival of Social Science – Why Quantitative Methods? 5 November 2014

The ESRC Festival of Social Science event – Why Quantitative Methods? Attracted over 50 year 12 and 13 students and 6 teachers, from 2 of the largest colleges in Wales (Cardiff and the Vale College and College Cymoedd). The students are currently studying a variety of courses, including; Access to Science, BTEC Extended Diploma in Medical Science, and A’ levels in psychology and sociology. Several students who attended are also enrolled on the Level-3 pilot scheme in social analytics course (

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Mr. Rhys Jones, Lecturer in Quantitative Methods FE at the Cardiff School of Social Sciences, led one stream of the workshops. He introduced students and teachers to the world of Social Analytics ( guiding them to generate and record data, as well as discussing concepts linked to reliability, validity, accuracy and precision.

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Several postgraduate students based in the Cardiff School of Social Sciences (Charlotte Brookfield above and Matthew Abrahams below and Grace Seeney), led sessions on data analysis and interpretation. They also covered simple visualisation techniques, creating pie charts and scatter plots of the data they had previously collected. Grace Seeney captured a series of photos throughout the day, as well as providing support for several of the workshops.
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Dr. Ian Jones, Engagement and Support Officer for the Cardiff School of Social Sciences, led another stream of workshops for the event. He navigated students and teachers through the scientific method used in the social sciences, discussing topics linked to deductive and inductive reasoning. Students were engaged in a series of group activities, encouraged to share their ideas with the class.

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Several postgraduate researchers based in the Cardiff School of Social Sciences (Jennifer Hampton above and Melissa Dickinson below) also led sessions on risk and perception in the quantitative sciences. In particular, the relative risk of being killed by a shark, snail and cow were explored, whereby students and teachers will be sure to look out for snails when they go for a walk in the future!  Concepts linked to causation and correlations were also discussed, covering examples such as attractiveness and employment opportunities, and number of deaths versus amount of cheese eaten.

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Feedback from the event was extremely positive, with both students and teachers commenting on the helpful and enthusiatic nature of the staff and postgraduate students involved. Several students also commented on the interesting examples used to explore the quantitative world of the social sciences, stating they would be keen to study these areas in the future. In addition, the teachers stated the workshops complimented many areas the students are currently studying, which will prepare them for their coursework asessments.

Correspondence relating to this event, and the level 3 social analytics project should be directed to:

Rhys Jones, Lecturer in Quantitative Methods FE, Cardiff University, School of Social Sciences, Glamorgan Building 1.11, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WT, Tel: (+44) 02920 870106, email:





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