In November 2020 I was invited to design and teach an introduction into quantitative methods in social research as part of the Ph.D. Programme in Global Studies at the Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo (Italy). The course was aimed at introducing students from various backgrounds (including anthropology, law, sociology, history, and international relations) into quantitative research. Given the relatively limited number of hours (10 contact hours), the main aim was to introduce students to the main strengths and weaknesses of quantitative social research, to familiarize them with key concepts in quantitative research, to enable them to critically read papers that make use of quantitative designs and to provide some handles and tools for starting a journey to set up quantitative research themselves. The emphasis was on methods and examples drawn from my own field of study, i.e. poverty, inequality and social policy. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the course was taught online.
Lecture 1: introduction to the course and key concepts in quantitative social research
Lecture 2: The total survey error paradigm and key issues regarding the sampling variance
Lecture 3: Further exploration of the sampling variance + from concept to social indicator
Lecture 4: Identifying ‘drivers’, ‘determinants’, and ’causes’ in social research + setting up your own quantitative social research project
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