NCRM PhD Researchers

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 title: 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.


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, Prof Gabi Durrant 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.


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.


Past PhD researchers at NCRM

Amanda Vettini (2020) PhD working title: Should we be Creating Jacks and Jills of all Trades in Social Research? (Edinburgh)


Georgia Chatzi (2019) Life course Socioeconomic Position effects on Inflammatory Biomarkers in older adults: compensating for Missing data (Manchester)


Catherine Walker (2018) Environment and children's everyday lives in India and England: Experiences, understandings and practices (UCL)


Eliud Kibuchi (2018) An investigation of methods for improving survey quality (Southampton)


Katharine Cowan (2018) Visualising young children's play: exploring multimodal transcription of video-recorded interaction (UCL)


Joe Winter (2017) Parenting identities, practices and social support in popular parenting websites: a narrative approach (UCL)


Rachel Ayrton (2017) History, drawing and power: essays towards reflexive methodological pluralism in sociology (Southampton)


Stephen Clark (2015) Modelling the Impacts of Demographic Ageing on the Demand for Health Care Services (Leeds)


Rohini Mathur (2015) Ethnic inequalities in health and use of healthcare in the UK: how computerised health records can contribute substantively to the knowledge base (LSHTM)


Michael Thomas (2014) Modelling individual and place variations in residential moves using commercial data and official statistics (Talisman node, Leeds)


Jaimie Ellis (2013) Young people with autism - A case study of methodological innovation in researching socially exluded groups (Hub, Southampton)


Gosia Turner (2013) New perspectives on interviewer-related error in surveys: application of survey paradata (Hub, Southampton)


Carmen Lau (2010) The New Generation: Chinese Childhoods (Realities node, Leeds)


Alexina Mason (2009) Bayesian methods for modelling non-random missing data mechanisms in longitudinal studies (BIAS II, Imperial College)


George Leckie (2008) Multilevel modelling of school differences in educational achievement (LEMMA 1, Bristol)


Caroline Young (2007) Methods of geographical perturbation for disclosure control (Hub, Southampton)