Placement: The Practice of Quantitative Social Research - SO748

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19
Canterbury Autumn and Spring
View Timetable
6 30 (15) MR JD Cunliffe




The module is only available to students taking the Q-Step Major degree (BSc Statistical Social Research) or any of the Q-Step Minor degrees (any programme that includes 'with Quantitative Research'



This module will involve students undertaking quantitative research in a placement setting, while simultaneously reflecting on the process of undertaking real-life quantitative research (through a log), culminating in an assessed reflection on their placement. Aside from the support of the Q-Step Placements Officer and an academic placements advisor, students would also receive lectures covering:
- Turning an organisations ideas into a viable research project (noting that the Q-Step team will already have worked with placement organisations to do this);
- Good practice in undertaking quantitative research projects (e.g. data security, data management, replicability);
- Ethics in applied quantitative research (certainty/uncertainty, power, and 'usefulness');
- Reflecting on research practice (linked to the assessments below).

Matching students to placements
While the Kent Q-Step Centre will arrange a number of potential placements for students on this module, it is the student's responsibility to negotiate a suitable placement – placements depend on finding a successful match between a student's abilities/interests and the placement hosts' needs, and this cannot be guaranteed in advance. However, the Q-Step Centre's Placements Officer (in collaboration with the Q-Step Academic Placement Lead and (where appropriate) the Schools' Placements Officer) will provide considerable support for students in finding a placement, including:
o Providing a range of possible placement opportunities for students that have been negotiated with employers across the private, public and voluntary sectors;
o Helping match students to these placement opportunities;
o Helping students find their own placement opportunity, if they cannot find a successful match in the existing placement opportunities.
The Placements Officer will also provide the further support.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

200 hour placement and 10 hours contact time.

Method of assessment

100% coursework (portfolio 50%, presentation 25% and an essay 25%)

Indicative reading

Cook, T., & Campbell, D. (1979) Quasi-experimentation: Design and analysis issues for field settings. Rand McNally College Publications
Robson, C and McCartan, K (2016), Real-World Research, 4th edition. Wiley.
Scott Long, J (2009), The Workflow of Data Analysis Using Stata. Stata Press.
Stevens, A (2011), 'Telling Policy Stories: An Ethnographic Study of the Use of Evidence in Policy-making in the UK'. Journal of Social Policy, 40:237-255. DOI: 10.1017/S0047279410000723

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

Critically understand the difference between quantitative research in theory and quantitative research in practice.
Critically understand the pressures on quantitative analysts in real-life-settings, such as producing quick results, data protection, pressures for certainty and/or simplicity,
or to produce 'useful' results.
Conduct advanced quantitative analyses in an applied setting;
Report (verbally and in writing) on quantitative analyses, to both technical and non-technical audiences.
Demonstrate an ability to reflect on their own position as a quantitative analyst in an applied setting.

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