Methods North West

Highlighting the North West's methodological expertise in the social sciences

Past workshops


Past workshop details

methods@manchester Summer School

Monday 4 – Friday 8 July 2016, 9.30am – 5.00pm  |  Monday 11 – Friday 15 July 2016, 9.30am – 5.00pm

Venue: University of Manchester

methods@manchester will hold its annual Summer School over the weeks of 4-8 July and 11-15 July.

The Summer School offers a range of specialised courses covering a variety of topics which are particularly relevant to postgraduates and researchers in humanities and social sciences. The selection includes software training as well as qualitative and quantitative analysis. The course content is based on approaches from across the various schools in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Manchester.

Each Summer School course will run for one week, delivering four days of content to a five-day timetable (Monday afternoon to Friday lunch-time), building on successful methods@manchester and CMIST short-courses given throughout the year.

Courses being held at the methods@manchester Summer School 2016 include:

  • Statistical analysis of social networks (Dr Johan Koskinen) – 11-15 July 2016
  • Introduction to Social Network Analysis using UCINET and Netdraw (Prof Martin Everett, Prof Nick Crossley, Dr Elisa Bellotti) – 4-8 July 2016
  • A system for statistical analysis using R and the R-commander (Dr Graeme Hutcheson) – 4-8 July 2016
  • Creative approaches to qualitative researching (Prof Brian Heaphy, Prof Sue Heath, Dr Helen Holmes, Prof Jennifer Mason, Dr Sophie Woodward) – 4-8 July 2016
  • Researching public and voluntary organisations (Nick Clifford and Nigel de Noronha) – 4-8 July 2016
  • Structural equation modelling using Mplus (Dr Nick Shyrane and Dr Bram Vanhoutte) – 4-8 July 2016
  • Data collection, content analysis and trend detection for the social web (Prof Mike Thelwall and Rosalynd Southern) – 4-8 July 2016

Full details of the methods@manchester Summer School 2016 including booking may be found on the methods@manchester website

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Writing Your Methodology

Thursday 16 June 2016, 9.30am – 4.30pm

Venue: University of Manchester

A publishing insider’s view of how to write your methodology. Patrick Brindle got his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 1998. At Cambridge he taught courses in research methods, the social sciences and history. Patrick also supervised numerous student research projects and dissertations.

Patrick took the step of moving to publishing in 2000. He has held a number of editorial roles at Pearson Education, Oxford University Press and SAGE Publications. He has worked on academic books, textbooks, journals and on online content and video.

At SAGE, Patrick was Publisher for Research Methods, Publisher for the Social Sciences, and Publisher for Online Content. He also co-established and managed a team of development editors whose job was to work closely with authors to improve the accessibility, style and market-readiness of their manuscripts.

Over 15 years in editorial, Patrick has worked with hundreds of social science scholars and researchers on their texts and has witnessed and dealt with every kind of writing problem (and excuse) in the proverbial book.

Patrick is now the founder and director of Into Content Limited, and is Visiting Lecturer at City University, London, where he lectures on publishing.

Attendees must bring a laptop.

Booking is available via the methods@manchester website

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NVivo Training Workshop

Thursday 2 – Friday 3 June 2016, 9.30am – 4.30pm

Venue: University of Manchester

NVivo, developed by QSR, is a CAQDAS package which integrates the handling of textual data with quantitative and multimedia forms of information/data.

The two-day workshop provides the opportunity to gain a thorough introduction to the software and practice tasks using one’s own data. The focus is on gaining confidence in the early tasks of setting up projects efficiently, exploring and coding data whilst having an eye on longer term tasks.

The first day uses sample data in order to become familiar with tools and functions, following through common tasks as a group and practicing exercises as individuals. Work is structured to provide step-by-step support for commonly used early software tools, with others demonstrated to illustrate longer-term potential.

The second day provides participants with the opportunity to get started using NVivo with their own project data. This may comprise interview/focus-group transcripts, audiovisual data, documentary evidence etc. The first part of the day focuses on translating the tasks explored on day one into practice. Individuals and teams work independently with the support of the tutor. The remainder of the day focuses on experimenting with more sophisticated interrogation tools. Possibilities and implications are discussed, demonstrated and practiced.

The course will suit those who are complete beginners and those who have looked at the software and tried to use it in a limited extent. However you should have some idea about what your approach to qualitative data analysis will be. The course does not teach you ‘how to do’ qualitative data analysis per se. The workshop is accompanied by fully step-by-step documentation and is led by an expert user of NVivo who has been working with and training in qualitative software packages for many years. In the two day format there is time to discuss individual needs and particular methodological approaches.

Booking is available via the methods@manchester website

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Transformative Research Master Class: Investigating Private Companies

Friday 17th June 2016, 9.30am-4.30pm

Venue: Foresight Centre, Waterhouse Room, 1 Brownlow Street, Liverpool, L69 3GL

The workshop will be led by: Chris Kitchen (Corporate Watch), Richard Whittell (Corporate Watch) and David Whyte (University of Liverpool)

This one-day research training workshop is designed for professional researchers, doctoral students and activists who research corporations and corporate power. The workshop will cover a range of key issues, including: how to think through the ‘right’ questions to ask; data sources that can help us research corporate power; how research can help us understand the structure of corporate power; and ‘how to’ research companies in difficult settings.

The session will include an illustrative case-study of the fracking industry and hydrocarbon production to demonstrate these issues in the context of an applied research investigation. Participants will also have the opportunity to discuss their own research problems with experienced researchers. All are welcome; postgraduate students, researchers, activists and all those who are interested in researching corporate power.

You can see highlights of last year’s event here:

Register via eventbrite

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Prosopography for Humanities and Social Sciences Researchers

Wednesday 18th May 2016, 2pm-4.30pm

Venue: Seminar Room 6, Rendall Building, University of Liverpool

Instructors: Dr. Richard Huzzey and Dr. Lucy Williams

What is prosopography and what can it do for you? This workshop offers researchers the chance to consider or share the value of prosopography in their discipline and field of interest. We will discuss what prosopography is – as either collective biography or nominal record linkage or something else – and how it has been used by not only social scientists but also humanities scholars. The event is open to researchers at all levels of experience, from veteran prosopographers to those keen to find out more.

Register via eventbrite

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Telling stories with research: narratological analysis as a method for writing

Monday 16 May 2016, 3.00pm-5.00pm

Venue: University of Liverpool

In this workshop, Dr. Will Slocombe will talk about how narratological principles and an orientation to “telling stories” can be employed as a method for writing and editing academic work, including theses, articles and monographs. Aimed primarily at PhD students, this workshop is also open to academic researchers.

Please register via eventbrite

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Elicitation techniques and narrative analysis

Tuesday 3 May 2016, 9.30am – 1.30pm

Venue: University of Manchester

Presenter: Emma Temple-Malt

This half day workshop aims to show how elicitation techniques used in semi-structured/narrative interviews can be a powerful tool for capturing aspects of people’s everyday lives. It also offers practical suggestions of how you might analyse data where elicitation techniques have been used.

The first part of the workshop explains why you might want to use elicitation techniques to complement qualitative interviews and offers an overview of several elicitation techniques. It also discusses some potential issues and barriers that need thinking through when using elicitation techniques in interviews.

The workshop includes practical/hands-on activities to facilitate learning. Therefore participants are asked to complete a relational time-line prior to attending the workshop and to bring an object and/or photograph that relates to a particular moment noted down on their time-line. The time-line, object/photograph will be used in a paired activity to narrate this particular moment. Using elicitation techniques personally to tell stories gives participants the opportunity to experience first hand the power that using objects/photos in the process of telling stories about everyday lives can have.

The second part of the workshop outlines and offers suggestions for how you might thematically analyse interviews where elicitation techniques have been used.

Participants are invited to have a go at thematically analysing portions of qualitative interview transcripts that focus on civilly partnered couples in a joint interview, narrating their relational time-lines. Participants will be encouraged to explore the theme of how couples in joint interviews approach the narration of their time-lines. More details and booking via the University of Manchester website.

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Critical discourse analysis

Friday 22 April 2016, 9.00am – 5.00pm

Venue: University of Liverpool

Presenter: Dr Andrew Kirton

This module is designed to introduce students to the theory and practice of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) over two intensive sessions. Students are introduced to a critical understanding of discourse, which in turn encourages the analysis of language use in relation to questions of power in society. The module seeks to enable students’ engagement in such analyses, introducing them to appropriate methods and techniques, and providing them the opportunity to put these into practice.

First Session: Friday 22 April 2016, 9am-5pm

Second Session: Friday 6 May 2016, 9am-12pm

More details and booking via eventbrite.

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Narrative interviewing

Thursday 14 April 2016, 12.30pm – 5.00pm

Venue: University of Liverpool

Presenters: Dr Ciara Kierans and Dr Jessie Cooper

This two-day short course prepares the postgraduate researcher for work with narrative. Covering key contributions to this form of inquiry, the course will introduce the theoretical and analytical principles of narrative research; help build technical skills for conducting, transcribing and analysing narrative interviews and explore the contributions and limitations of the use of narrative inquiry in social science research.

First Session: Thursday 14 April 2016, 12.30pm-5pm

Second Session: Friday 15 April 2016, 12.30pm-5pm

More details and booking via eventbrite.

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Monday 7 March; Monday 14 March; Monday 21 March, 10.00am – 1.00pm

Venue: University of Liverpool

Presenter: Professor Jude Robinson

This short module on interviews is suitable for postgraduate students and research staff from all disciplines who require a period of additional supported study and reflection before they design and conduct their own research. Drawing on the rich sociological literature, students will be introduced to theories of why and when to use interviews and have the opportunity to develop research questions and learn how to conduct interviews as well as how to approach the preparation, analysis and writing up of data. The module is delivered over 3 workshops, each lasting for 3 hours, which will combine some lecture material, with discussions of the literature and issues, and practical exercises on conducting interviews and data analysis.

More details and booking via eventbrite.

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Ethnomethodology and conversation analysis

Thursday 10 March, 1.00pm – 5.00pm

Venue: University of Liverpool

Presenters: Dr Michael Mair, Dr Philip Brooker and Dr Chris Elsey

This two-day short-course is aimed at postgraduate and academic researcher interested in ethnomethodology and ethnomethodological conversation analysis. Focusing on ethnomethodological and conversation analytic approaches to the study of language, interaction and social practices, in practical terms it will cover (1) key works and ideas in both fields, (2) how to identify analytically interesting audio and video data, (3) how to work up audio and video data in and through the transcription process and (4) how to ‘build’ analyses of data individually and in collaboration with others. Dates: Thursday 10 March & Friday 11 March

More details and booking via eventbrite.

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Ethnographic studies of science and technology

Thursday 3 March, 1.30pm – 6.00pm

Venue: University of Liverpool

Presenters: Dr Ciara Kierans and Dr Jessie Cooper

This two-day short course is aimed at the postgraduate researcher interested in social science approaches and studies of medicine, science and technology. Drawing from ethnographic research in anthropology and sociology, we focus on foundational ethnographic texts in this field, theoretical and analytical concerns and arguments, and the integrated character of methods, analysis and writing in ethnographic inquiry.

First Session: Thursday 3 March 2016, 1.30pm-6pm

Second Session: Friday 4 March 2016, 1.30pm-6pm

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Visual Methods

Monday 22 February, 1.00pm – 5.00pm

Venue: University of Liverpool

Presenter: Dr Paul Jones

This two-day short-course is aimed at postgraduate and academic researchers who would like to learn more about sociological approaches to visual analysis. In particular, the module addresses some of the recurrent ways in which cities have been represented visually, and is so interested in how images of urban contexts are generated and disseminated. Paying specific attention to the work of i) photographers and ii) architects against this backdrop, the module is organised around preparatory reading of classic and contemporary research contributions, which will include discussion of how to identify analytically-relevant urban visual data, and a walking tour or Liverpool City Centre, addressed towards visual representations in situ. Assessment on the module is via a short research presentation, which is to be based on interrogation of visual data with reference to a technique of analysis specified within the module.

First Session: Monday 22 February 2016, 1pm-5pm

Second Session: Tuesday 23 February 2016, 1pm-5pm

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Participatory Action Research

Tuesday 2 February, 9.00am – 5.00pm

Venue: University of Liverpool

Presenter: Louise Hardwick

This one-day workshop is aimed at postgraduate and academic researchers interested in conducting a PAR with an identified collaborative community partner. There will opportunities for ‘shared conversations’ on issues involved in planning and conducting a PAR and consideration of: (1) theoretical perspectives that inform a PAR approach, (2) appropriate methods and activities for a PAR approach, (3) ethical considerations related to a PAR approach.

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Understanding society using quantitative methods

Monday 1 February, 1.00pm – 3.00pm

Venue: University of Liverpool

Presenter: Dr Peter Campbell

This module looks into the rationale and practice of analysing numerical data, largely derived from survey research, and the use of such data to understand the social world. It covers a range of skills from basic univariate and multivariate analysis techniques, to a consideration of the potential insights offered by longitudinal datasets and their analysis. General issues regarding the generation and usage of quantitative data will be considered, and from these first principles the particularities of longitudinal research design will subsequently be examined. The context in which quantitative analysis of the social world has arisen will also be considered.

Dates: Every Monday 1pm-3pm, from 1 February to 9 May

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Focus groups

Monday 1 February, 10.00am – 4.00pm

Venue: University of Liverpool

Presenter: Professor Jude Robinson

This short module will help postgraduate students and research staff to design, plan and carry out focus group discussions. Using case studies to illustrate the application of focus groups to research particular issues, students will gain understandings of the theory, practicalities and ethics of using this method to elicit data, and how to prepare and analyse these data. This module consists of a series of 4 workshops, each two hours long, to be held on consecutive weeks, which will combine lectures and discussions with practical exercises within the group, as well as discussions about the wider literature.

The four sessions will be on the 1, 8, 15 and 22 February 2016 (Mondays) between 10am and 12pm

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Supervising quantitative research degrees

Friday 22 January, 10.30am – 4.00pm

Venue: Jisc, Brettenham House, London

This one-day event is for you if you have an interest in supervising research postgraduates in quantitative social science subjects. The workshop explores experiences of what works in:

research student recruitment and funding

research design for proposals

the supervision process (the supervisor experience and the student perspective)

Additionally the ESRC support services present on data and training for your students. The session is open to current and soon-to-be supervisors and particularly those who have less experience.

The day is organised collaboratively by the Administrative Data Research Network, CALLS Hub, Centre for Longitudinal Studies, CLOSER, NCRM, UK Data Service and Understanding Society

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Telling stories with research: narratological analysis as a method for writing

Thursday 17 December 2015, 11.00am – 1.00pm

Venue: University of Liverpool

Presenter: Dr Will Slocombe

In this workshop, Dr. Will Slocombe will talk about how narratological principles and an orientation to “telling stories” can be employed as a method for writing and editing academic work, including theses, articles and monographs. Aimed primarily at PhD students, this workshop is also open to academic researchers.

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Blogging for academics

Friday 13 November 2015, 10.00am – 4.30pm

Venue: University of Liverpool

Presenter: Dr Jennifer Allanson (TupleSpace)

Blogging is a productive tool for communicating research at multiple stages of a project. This may be as a reflection on the process, dissemination of multi-media content, the creation of an archive, or reaching specialist and/or non-specialist audiences. In recent years, the LSE Impact Blog has explored academic blogging as a tool with a particular focus on its use by Social Scientists and Nadine Muller has created a platform for Early Career Researchers in the Humanities. These have established its usefulness at multiple stages of projects and career trajectories. Whether you want to create a blog related to a specific project or to construct an academic self, the aim of this workshop is to provide you with the tools to do so. The day will consist of two halves. The first half will be dedicated to a reflection on the process of blogging and thinking about design and structure, and the second half will be a practical lab-based session on using WordPress for blogging. This will be a useful introductory session for new bloggers and a refresher for those who want to expand their use of WordPress for their projects. This session is open to researchers from PG level to established scholars. By the end of the day each participant will have a WordPress-hosted site of their own, which can then be developed further with support from the trainer.

Training is provided by Dr Jennifer Allanson of TupleSpace

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Research data management workshop

6 – 7 October 2015, 10.00am – 4.30pm

Venue: University of Liverpool

Presenters: Veerle Van de Eynden (UK Data Service), Libby Bishop (UK Data Service), Irena Vipavc Brvar (Slvenian Social Science Data Archives) and Anna Sofia Fink (National Archives / Danish Data Archive)

Good research data management is fundamental for high quality research. While many PhD students acquire the skills to collect and analyse data, the handling and managing of research data is not usually addressed in such methods training. Also, funding bodies and scientific journals increasingly require data created during publicly funded research or underpinning publications, to be openly available. This again requires good data skills and data management planning early in the research cycle.

From the early stage of the research design, through to the later stages of analysis and data storage, good data management equates to efficient research and the saving of time and resources.

This two-day workshop, which combines both presentations and interactive activities, exercises and discussions, will provide PhD students with practical skills directly applicable to their own research. Drawing on a wide range of data – both quantitative and qualitative – the workshop will address the following key topics in data management:

• documentation and contextual description

• ethical and legal aspects of managing and sharing sensitive data

• anonymising research data for reuse

• writing a data management plan

• data handling (e.g. file organisation and data storage and security)

• data preparation

By the end of the workshop, participants will know how to apply good data management practices in their own research, and will be able to work more efficiently and effectively with data individually or as part of a research team, where data are often co-produced and shared. This workshop is part of the FOSTER-CESSDA training series and is part funded by the European FOSTER project. Teaching will be delivered by trainers from across the CESSDA network.

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Introduction to QGIS: Understanding and presenting special data

1 October 2015, 9.30am – 4.00pm

Venue: University of Liverpool

Presenter: Dr Nick Bearman

This course introduces spatial data and shows how to import and display spatial data within the open source GIS program QGIS. We also cover creating choropleth maps, some basic spatial data analysis (e.g. calculating rates) and appropriate methods of visualising spatial data. By the end of the course you will be able to load data into QGIS, symbolise it effectively and be able to prepare a publication quality map. No previous experience of GIS or QGIS is required, but some experience of using spatial data will be beneficial.

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Managing qualitative research

17 March 2015, 10.30am – 4.00pm

Venue: Lancaster University

‘Writing by Numbers: a ‘proforma’ for doing and writing up qualitative research’ Professor John Burgoyne. 10:30am-12pm: This practical and interactive session helps you map out your research issues and shows how writing and the research process are inter-related.

Personal challenges in aligning research paradigms and methods Professor Caroline Gatrell 12.45pm – 1 pm

Personal experience of achieving your PhD: a reflection on perspectives Dr Valerie Bevan 1pm – 1.45pm: In this session Caroline first introduces the question of managing relationships between methodology (theoretical underpinnings of your thesis) and method (your research design). Valerie then shares her personal experience of aligning her data analysis and findings with theoretical perspectives in her PhD thesis.

Managing Emotion in Qualitative Research Interviews Professor Caroline Gatrell 1.45pm – 2.30pm: This session explores the challenges of managing emotion in qualitative interviews

Group work: questions and answers 2.45pm – 4 pm: Space for participants to consider and discuss their own dilemmas in managing qualitative research.

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Researching work and family: methods across disciplines

19 June 2013, 10.30am – 4.00pm

Venue: Lancaster University

This workshop examines work and family research across disciplines (organizational psychology, sociology, management studies) from the viewpoint of the doctoral researcher.

Leading scholars in the work-family field will talk about work-family research methods and our keynote speakers will be Professor David Morgan, University of Manchester and Professor Gary Powell, visiting from Connecticut University USA. Invited speakers also include Dr Eleanor Hamilton and Dr Caroline Gatrell (Lancaster University) and Dr Simon Burnett (Prudential plc).

This workshop is aimed primarily at PhD students, however Masters students with a particular interest in these topic areas are also welcome.  A recent review of research on work, family and work-life balance (by Gatrell, Burnett, Cooper and Sparrow 2012) may also be found useful.

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Ketso-based workshop for methodology review and development

Monday 9 July 2012, 10.30am – 4.00pm

Venue: University of Manchester

This Ketso based workshop is designed to support students moving towards the end of the first year of their PhD. The focus of the session will be to help you to clarify the (details of) methods that you will be using in your PhD research; identify problems and issues that need to be address in applying those methods and to develop a road map through your PhD research. The session will naturally complement formal end of year review review processes.

Aims of the day

• To provide students with an opportunity to review their progress, identify areas of challenge and enable the sharing of ideas for solutions and strategies

• To support students in developing their methodologies and clarifying their action plans for their thesis research

• To facilitate connections between students to foster and encourage networking and peer support, both during the event and on an ongoing basis.

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