PhD researchers at NCRM
Sebastian Flennerhag (2017 - )
PhD working title: Deep Learning for Dynamic Systems
Supervised by: Professor Mark Elliot, Professor John Keyne and Dr Hujun Yin
Abstract: As the availability of rich sequential data (i.e. social media) grows, so does the need for powerful learning algorithms capable of uncovering complex patterns. In this PhD, we develop deep neural networks for sequential data, focusing on models capable of adapting to changes in the data distribution over time, such as changes in the use of language, or changes to the dynamics of a social network. Additionally, we develop methods for efficiently training and analyzing deep neural networks in the context of sequence learning.
Debbie Collins (2015 - ) (part-time)
PhD working title: Pedagogy of methodological learning: the potential of digital technologies to transform the teaching and learning of advanced social science research methods.
Supervised by Professor Melanie Nind, Dr Sarah Lewthwaite and Dr John Wollard
Abstract: Big claims are made about the potential of digital technologies to transform teaching and learning. This research looks beyond the rhetoric to examine the ways in which digital technologies are being used in the teaching and learning of advanced social research methods. Case studies will be used to explore:
• the factors influencing the choice of technology, for example whether this a conscious choice, rooted in pedagogical goals or more opportunistic;
• whether there is any evidence that technology is enhancing or changing the ways in which the teaching and learning of research methods are taking place; and
• how technology is supporting / developing the learning of research methods.
Jillian Hart (2015 - )
PhD working title: A method to our madness: Is methodological innovation superficially attractive but challenging in practice?
Supervised by Professor Graham Crow, Professor Lynn Jamieson, Dr Gil Viry
Abstract: Social scientists have a variety of methods in our social science 'toolbox’. But, are we using the same methods too readily? We have so many methods at our disposal; why are we sticking to primarily interviews, SPSS, questionnaires, ethnography, focus groups (alone or in combination)? The NCRM typology of research methods lists literally dozens of methods, and even considering only 12 methods, there are 132 possible pairings of methods, so why are we limiting our data collection methods? Is mixing methods superficially attractive but challenging in practice? Are we stuck in a rut with our methods, or being sensibly cautious? This project examines these questions by way of a case study combining biographical narrative and social network analysis.
Eliud Kibuchi (2015 - )
PhD working Title: Investigating Nonresponse Using Bayesian Approach
Supervised by Professor Patrick Sturgis, Dr Gabriele Durrant and Dr Olga Maslovskaya
Abstract: It is very challenging to conduct surveys nowadays because of the reducing response rates and increasing costs. This has promoted the need to predict response outcomes. The use of paradata, such as call records and interviewer observations to predict response outcomes has risen in recent years. The predicted response outcomes can be further improved by use of historical data. My research aims to explore the incorporation of the historical information using Bayesian approaches in nonresponse regression models. This is usually achieved by use of informative priors derived from the historical data and updated using the current data.
Carli Lessof (2015 - )
PhD working Title: Innovation and quality in new data collection for social and biosocial research: looking beyond traditional questionnaire data
Supervised by Professor Patrick Sturgis and Professor David Martin
Abstract: I will be exploring different types of ‘new’ data that have been incorporated in or alongside social surveys. I will consider how these data collection activities could be classified and look at some of the challenges faced by survey practitioners and methodologists. I am interested in how survey data collectors innovate successfully and how the quality and contribution made by new data can and should be evaluated. This is a three-paper PhD. The first paper involves a collaboration with the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL and reports on a CLOSER funded study to establish whether measures of physiological function collected in biosocial surveys need to be calibrated to account for differences in the equipment used. The second involves a collaboration with the Understanding Society team at the University of Essex, Kantar Worldpanel and TNS BMRB and is based on an ESRC Transformative Research project. This will involve analysing whether till receipt scanning can be successfully embedded in a complex social survey to improve the measurement of household spending. I am considering a number of interesting avenues for my third paper.
Amanda Vettini (2015 - )
PhD working title: Should we be Creating Jacks and Jills of all Trades in Social Research?
Supervised by Prof Graham Crow, Prof Vernon Gayle, Dr Kevin Ralston
Abstract: Social science training has fundamentally altered, with specific research methods requirements for Economic and Social Research Council-funded students. ESRC’s guidelines identify core and advanced methods skills plus subject-specific training. This PhD research asks – can we successfully achieve both breadth and depth in postgraduate training? By requiring anthropologists to learn ethnography plus quantitative methods and economists to study qualitative methods alongside quantitative ones, how will people respond? This PhD will combine mixed methods including narrative interviews, video diaries and online surveys and gather the views of postgraduate students, academic staff, employers, researchers and key individuals in organisations.
Georgia Chatzi (2015 - )
PhD working title: The role of early- mid- and later-life Socioeconomic Position (SEP) effects on inflammation biomarkers: compensating for Missing Data
Supervised by Professor Natalie Shlomo, Professor Tarani Chandola and Dr Alexandru Cernat
Abstract: The primary aim of this thesis is to examine whether the levels of adulthood inflammatory biomarkers of C-reactive protein (CRP) and fibrinogen can be explained by early, mid and later-life SEP characteristics in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). The secondary aim is to evaluate different methods for compensating for missing data in biosocial research where the missingness is selective and dependent on the outcomes. This study will use longitudinal data from ELSA using three waves 2, 4 and 6 for years 2004-2005, 2008-2009 and 2012-2013, respectively. The thesis will make an important contribution to current understanding techniques and methods for handling missing data in longitudinal studies that assess the role of SEP on inflammation biomarkers.
Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel Ayrton (2011- 2018)
Title: History, drawing and imagination: Essays towards a methodologically pluralist sociology.
Supervised by Professor Ros Edwards
Abstract: This three paper thesis responds to Bourdieu's summons to use “all the techniques that are relevant and practically usable, given the definition of the object and the practical conditions of data collection” (Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992: 227). The first paper examines the history of the social survey method in the UK and US, with particular reference to poverty studies, and considers the method's current prospects in light of the shifting data environment. The second paper critically compares conceptual and methodological approaches to trust, and explores what the expressive visual method of storyboarding can contribute to advancing understanding of this ambiguous concept. The third paper picks up themes of nationalism and national identity after five years of South Sudanese sovereignty.
Berit Henriksen (2011- )
Title: Researching digital communication and learning within social networking environment
Supervised by Dr Neil Selwyn
Abstract: Berit's doctoral research project explores multimodal approaches to researching social media, focusing specifically on multimodal methods for researching social media participation practices of production, distribution and consumption. Rich multimodal qualitative data is collected and analysed through investigations of the social media platforms YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest, exploring different aspects of user activity and practice. Based around the planning and execution of these diverse case studies, the thesis will strive to develop a multimodal methodological knowledge base that can inform and enhance future social research in this growing area of digital society.
Victoria Hurr (2011- )
Title: The kineikonic mode - Developing a multimodal theory of the moving image
Supervised by Professor Andrew Burn
Abstract: Victoria's research project aims to develop a theoretical framework that articulates how meaning emerges through visual modes of analysis. Victoria focuses on Tacita Dean's FILM displayed in Tate Turbine Hall, and the research includes the production of visual documents - transcriptions and moving images produced by herself, students and an artist-teacher - as a method to ‘reflect on' and articulate the theoretical structure.
Kate Cowan (2012-)
Title: Video-based research in learning and examining forms of transcription
Supervised by Dr Jeff Bezemer and Dr Rosie Flewitt
Abstract: Kate's research addresses methodological issues related to the use of video in observational research, focusing particularly on multimodal transcription. The research aims to review, evaluate, try out and develop methods of transcribing multimodal interaction for academic and professional purposes, considering how video and forms of multimodal transcription might be used in Early Years classrooms in the process of observation, documentation and assessment of learning.
Catherine Walker (2011- )
Supervised by Professor Ann Phoenix and Dr Janet Boddy
Abstract: Catherine's PhD studentship forms part of the Family Lives and the Environment (FLE) project within the NOVELLA node. The FLE project as a whole will examine understandings of habitual practice, and narratives within families, in relation to climate change, climatic events, and the environment, and involves secondary analysis of qualitative data from the Young Lives study along with new data collection in India and the UK. Catherine's research will complement the work of the main study, through a focus on children's perspectives, with regard to the positioning of their perspectives within families, and their influence on families' everyday practices and their collective understandings of those practices.
Joe Winter (2011- )
Title: Electronic Constructions of Parenting Identities and Practices
Supervised by Professor Ann Phoenix and Professor Julia Brannen
Abstract: Joe will collect data on how parenting identities and practices are created in new ways in Computer Mediated Communicationss. Joe will engage in a virtual ethnography of sites such as MumsNet and fathers' sites and conduct electronic interviews with parents in transnational families. It is anticipated that parents for this group will be recruited through advertising on the internet. While the internet is increasingly being used as a mode of research interviewing, attention to both parenting practices and a comparison of how narratives collected via the internet compares with narratives collected face to face is methodologically innovative. It is likely that visual data will also be analysed.
Stephen Clark (2012- )
Title: Modelling the impacts of demographic ageing on the delivery of health care services
Supervised by Professor Mark Birkin and Dr Alison Heppenstall.
Abstract: Working in partnership with the NHS Information Centre, this research will analyse what the most common procedures required by elderly populations are and how this demand varies spatially. From this, forecasts will be built (using a mixture of statistical and individual-based modelling tools) to explore (i) where the elderly population are likely to living in 10, 15 and 20 years and (ii) what the particular pressures are going to be on the NHS treatment centres.
Past PhD researchers at NCRM
Carmen Lau (2010), The New Generation: Chinese Childhoods (Realities node)
George Leckie (2008), Multilevel modelling of school differences in educational achievement (LEMMA 1)
Caroline Young (2007), Methods of geographical perturbation for disclosure control (the Hub)