PSA Teaching Quantitative Methods Network

Recent initiatives (Nuffield; ESRC; HEFCE; British Academy) have sought to prioritise the development of quantitative methods (QM) in the social science curriculum. The PSA has been very supportive of such initiatives, including supporting the development of a quality ‘kite mark’ for QM Teaching. To this end, the PSA recently invited applications to develop and lead a PSA Teaching Quantitative Methods Network (TQMN). The aim of this network is to support academic staff teaching quantitative methods and to share and disseminate expertise and best practice in this area.

The TQMN will be run by a group of enthusiastic innovators representing three universities, including a Q-Step Affiliate. They are mainly early-careers scholars who have developed extensive experience teaching research methods at both undergraduate and post graduate levels.They also have a history of receiving funding for research methods teaching innovation: Emily Clough was Principal Investigator for the ESRC-funded project ‘Integrating Quantitative Methods into the Politics Curriculum’; Helen Williams was Co-Investigator for the ESRC-funded project ‘Understanding Society Through Secondary Data Analysis:Quantitative Methods over the Undergraduate Life Course’. Raul Gomez and Nicholas Lees have been awarded a Teaching and Learning Fellowship from the University of Liverpool to develop a module of secondary data analysis using flipped classrooms and problem based learning. Helen Williams also received the PSA Innovation in Teaching Award in 2014 for her hands-on reworking of the undergraduate methods training at Nottingham University. Scott Moser (University of Nottingham), whose research focuses on how groups do and should choose collective outcomes, also joins the team. 

The network will be expected to:
•    Develop innovative, accessible and engaging politics-focused teaching resources to support politics QM lecturers – available either via the PSA website or through networking events;
•    Share and spread best practice in quantitative methods teaching – with a focus on engaging students with QM teaching;
•    Develop and maintain a Network website accessible to network members (hosted by PSA);
•    Provide links to politics datasets that may be used for politics teaching and learning; 
•    Hold regular teaching and learning workshops or conferences focused on various aspects of quantitative methods teaching practice;
•    Work in co-operation with PSA’s Education and Skills sub-committee and its Teaching and Learning Committee to promote the development and reach of QM skills in the politics curriculum.

This webpage will be updated with more news as this new group develops a programme of activities over the coming months.