Collaboration within Quantitative Social Sciences is led by Dr Federica Genovese, from the University of Essex, with Dr Sara Connolly from UEA and Dr Hannah Swift from Kent.

Quantitative Social Sciences is one of three initial research themes of the Eastern ARC

Quantitative Social Sciences is one of three initial research themes of the Eastern ARC

The research theme will initially focus on the following three areas:

–  Inequality, Conflict, and Migration

The increase in inequality across different groups in society has led to various types of conflict both nationally and internationally, and between different socio-demographic groups. In this context, conflict can be understood in a wider sense, in that it entails conflict within society as well as conflict within households and relationships. This area invites contributions from researchers in economics, political science, sociology, social policy and social work, and linguistics, to explore the multiple causal mechanisms surrounding issues of inequality, conflict, and migration.

–  Lifespan, Lifestyle, and Decision-making

Do individuals choose their lifestyle, and if so how does this choice affect their life expectancy? This area predominantly combines research in economics, psychology, sociology, and health, but is also open for research on attitudes and political behaviour. We would also invite research that explores the degree to which individuals can make decisions on their lifestyle, in contrast to genetic and educational influences.

–  Environment, Energy, and Security

One of the most important questions for the future development of mankind is the balance between environment and energy and the repercussions that policy interventions, business strategies, and individual behaviour in this area have for the emergence of conflict between individuals, consumers and producers, ethnicities, and nations. This area combines research in economics, business, law, political science, anthropology and geography.

Activities and Initiatives:

The three universities of the Eastern ARC are partners, together with the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), in the ESRC-funded Business and Local Government Data Research Centre.

The Centre offers a range of no-fee services to companies and local authorities, to enable more effective use of data that they have access to. It provides organisations with unique insights into operations and customer and supplier behaviours. Complex data are being used to design inclusive and smart local policies, and to tailor national policies to local circumstances.

Launched in October 2014 and based at Essex Business School, the Centre is underpinned by collective research strength in the quantitative social sciences, drawing on academic expertise in a number of other areas including data science, economics, and business and management.

The first Eastern ARC conference for the Quantitative Social Sciences was held in March 2014. Academics from a range of social science disciplines within the Eastern ARC presented their work to over 35 attendees. Leading on from this, Kent is creating a database of staff members engaged in quantitative research in all three universities that will be shared across the Eastern ARC.

The University of Kent is one of the few Q-Step Centres in the UK, and is also active in developing a number of research initiatives, including:

  • The Kent Adult Research Unit (KARU) and the Child Development Unit databases to enhance research opportunities and public engagement with research.
  • The Kent Age Research Group, an interdisciplinary network of researchers in age, older people and ageing-related issues.
  • An interdisciplinary faculty wide centre on cross-national comparative research.
  • Support for cross-institution exchange of staff members in individual school’s research seminar series.
  • Support for thematic seminar series across the Eastern ARC institutions.
  • Facilitating interdisciplinary research programmes (through the development of informal common interest research groups/lab groups such as the political psychology lab and postgraduate network for quantitative social science methods and analysis).
  • The provision of graduate level training in advanced quantitative methods and statistical analysis, including multilevel modelling supported by an ESRC advanced training initiative.

In February 2015, the University of Essex received Q-Step affiliate status, for the Department of Government, the Department of Sociology and Essex Business School.