OverviewThis course is designed to help students understand and critique the numbers and research they encounter in their everyday lives. The first half of the course focuses on teaching the knowledge and skills need to critically evaluate factual quantitative claims. Each lecture uses example quantitative claims, largely drawn from the news media, to teach a particular quantitative skill. For example, highlighting a statistic based on a biased sample to teach students the principles of sampling. The seminars build on the content of the lectures and aim to teach students the practical, computer-based skills needed to evaluate quantitative claims.
The second half of the course is based around students conducting their own research, and also brings in qualitative skills element. Students apply the critical and quantitative skills they have learned to conducting their own mixed-methods project.
This module appears in:
11 hour lectures and 11 hour seminars
Method of assessment
1,500 word report (50%), group multimedia presentation and associated individual report (50%)
Blastland, M. & Dilnot, A. (2007) The Tiger That Isnt.
Douglas, H (2009), Science, Policy and the Value-free Ideal.
Kitchin, R (2000), 'The Researched Opinions on Research: disabled people and disability research'. Disability & Society, 15(1):25-47.
Robson, C (2011), Real World Research 3e. Wiley.
Wright Mills, C (1959), Appendix: On Intellectual Craftsmanship. In The Sociological Imagination.
1. Understand how to interpret basic quantitative information
2. Understand how to find and retrieve publicly available quantitative data, and to carry out basic manipulations of this data in Excel
(or similar spreadsheet software)
3. Understand how to collect and present basic qualitative and quantitative information
4. Understand what we mean when we talk about inequality, and how this relates to individual life-chances, with particular reference to
inequalities within the county of Kent