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NCRM Podcasts



Name Author Released
How are we influenced by the information we are exposed to? Iulia Cioroianu
The media environment, including the way we consume our news has been radically changed by the advent of the Internet. What does this mean for the type of content we look at and how we share it with our off- and online networks? And how does it influence our opinions? Iulia Cioroianu from the University of Exeter discusses research undertaken as part of the NCRM-funded ExpoNet project which is producing a set of tools to make it possible to examine these ideas more closely.
19 Dec 2016 Download
Reproducing social science research: give up your code Vernon Gayle
While there is now an unprecedented amount of large-scale social science data suitable for sociological research, in reality it is impossible to ‘reproduce’ the results of most of the analyses that are published because information on how the work is undertaken in seldom made available. The statistical analysis of large-scale social science data is far from transparent and a culture of 'trust me’ rather than a culture of 'show me’ currently exists. Those are arguments being made by Professor Vernon Gayle from the University of Edinburgh who, in a recent presentation, makes an appeal to his fellow researchers to routinely provide enough information so that others can check that results are accurate, and that correct inferences and conclusions are reported in published work.
6 Dec 2016 Download
Introduction to time use diaries Jonathan Gershuny
How we spend our time has long been of interest to researchers around the world. How we can most accurately capture that information is key and of particular interest to survey methodologists. A popular research method since the early 1960s has been the use of Time Use diaries, which have been used to provide new answers to pressing questions about changes in our work and home lives. It's a topic that Professor Jonathan Gershuny, Director of the Centre for Time Use Research at the University of Oxford knows a great deal about, having established the Multinational Time Use Study in the mid-1980s and worked with time use data for many years. Following a presentation by him and some of his research team at the ESRC Research Methods Festival 2016, he spoke to Chris Garrington for the Methods Podcast about Time Use diaries, how they work, what they tell us and how new technology is providing exciting new ways to clock how we spend our days.
28 Jul 2016 Download
Using visual diaries to capture the everyday lives of people in mid to later life Wendy Martin
The use of visual methods in research on ageing has become increasingly popular. Not a great deal of it, however, has looked at people in mid to later life. A team at Brunel University, London, however, has been doing just that, using photography to document every day lives. The research, presented at the ESRC Research Methods Festival, 2016, has also resulted in some innovative engagement in the form of a hugely successful photographic exhibition. Project Principal Investigator, Dr Wendy Martin explains more to Chris Garrington in this episode of the Methods Podcast.
27 Jul 2016 Download
'Statistics Anxiety' A Fairy Tale For Our Times? John MacInnes
It is typically assumed that social science students are anxious, confused or intimidated by numbers. However this is far more 'common wisdom' than anything that any robust empirical research has demonstrated. Professor John MacInnes from the University of Edinburgh has been reviewing the evidence and carrying out some preliminary research to see whether so-called 'stats anxiety' is something of a myth. After presenting early findings at the Research Methods Festival 2016, he recorded this interview with Chris Garrington for our Methods Podcast.
25 Jul 2016 Download
Visualising social trends in 3D Jon Minton
Data visualisation has become synonymous with simple infographics in recent years, but for researchers this isn't necessarily a good thing. That's according to Dr Jonathan Minton from Glasgow University who uses data visualisation, including 3D printouts of data to visualise complex questions around social issues such as migration, fertility and mortality. In this episode of Methods he explains why and how data visualisation can help social researchers produce fascinating and important evidence for research and policy and makes the case that 'simple' isn't always best. Dr Minton will be presenting some of his work at the Research Methods Festival 2016.
21 Jun 2016 Download
Researching the oldest old and those living and dying with dementia in care homes Claire Goodman
There are many uncertainties surrounding end of life care for people with dementia living in care homes. From who is responsible for which aspects of a person’s care to what type of care they receive in the home or in hospital, and how everyone who needs to be heard can be heard. Research, led by Professor Claire Goodman at the University of Hertfordshire and due to be presented at The ESRC Research Methods Festival 2016, has been addressing these uncertainties and has led to the development of a new framework that is helping care and health professionals give the best support and service they can to the residents and patients and their families.
3 Jun 2016 Download
Inquiry into the 2015 British general election opinion polls Patrick Sturgis

The night of the General Election 2015 was a surprising one in more ways than one! A series of opinion polls had led us all to believe that we were in for another Coalition Government, but, as we now know that turned out to be far from the case. For pollsters and statisticians it was a night of disappointment and even anger.  So what went wrong and what lessons have been learned? In this episode of the NCRM podcast, NCRM Director Patrick Sturgis, who led an inquiry into what has become known as the polling disaster of 2015, looks back at how events unfolded, the aftermath, the inquiry that follow, what it found and the recommendations made by him and his team to put things right in the future. 

The inquiry and the report that has been published are the focus of a key session at the Research Methods Festival 2016 - Can We Trust the Polls? Reflections on the 2015 Election Poll Miss

18 Apr 2016 Download
Is it possible to use creative methods to research migration and citizenship Umut Erel
Is it possible to use creative methods such as theatre work shops to research important topics such as migration and citizenship? Are these methods a good way to get information from study participants that other methods maybe can’t and can they be used effectively to engage policymakers and practitioners with research in this area?

In this podcast Dr Umut Erel from the Open University discusses work with Professors Tracy Reynolds and Maggie O'Neill and research fellow and theatre practitioner Erene Kaptani using participatory theatre workshops to explore the challenges faced by migrant women in becoming active citizens in their new home and the role they have in helping their children become active citizens. The research is being featured a session at the Research Methods Festival 2016.
21 Mar 2016 Download
Shared understanding between improvising musicians Michael Schober
We often assume that great musical partnerships are just that - relationships built on a mutual understanding, intensive practice together, learning how to be totally in sync to create an incredible performance. But is it essential that musicians have this 'special relationship' to produce great music? Psychologist and pianist Michael Schober from the New School for Social Research in New York has been investigating and, in this podcast, describes an experiment he has carried out to try to find out.
2 Dec 2015 Download the challenges of linking health service data Neil Serougi
Linking data for the benefit of individuals and wider society is an important research area, not just for social scientists, but for us all. One of the most well known and most talked about practical examples of this is the somewhat controversial programmme, designed to share patients' health and social care information in order to see what works and what doesn't in the NHS. Independent researcher Neil Serougi discusses the programme's rocky road and reflects on recent discussions hosted by NCRM on the ethical and social concerns around linked data."
19 Jul 2015 Download
Data linkage: challenges and opportunities Peter Elias
The growth of digital information provides social scientists with unprecedented opportunities to access the personal data of people all around the world and to transform our understanding. In this podcast, Professor Peter Elias, Strategic Advisor for Data Resources to the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) explains the latest thinking around data linkage.
19 Jul 2015 Download
Teaching and learning social research methods Melanie Nind, Daniel Kilburn and Rebekah Luff
This is a joint podcast by the NCRM and the International Journal for Social Research Methods (IJSRM). There is little research literature about teaching and learning of advanced research methods, which is the motivation for the NCRM research project 'The pedagogy of methodological learning'. NCRM and IJSRM are collaborating on a special issue, entitled 'Teaching and learning social research methods – Developments in pedagogical knowledge'.
26 May 2015 Download
Using Skype in qualitative interviews with young people Susie Weller
The way we communicate in our professional and personal lives has changed dramatically in recent years. We can now Skype our banks, receive texts from our doctor, and our politicians use Twitter to try to win over voters. For social researchers such digital communication technologies present many new and exciting opportunities for recruiting participants, carrying out fieldwork and publicising research findings. In this podcast Dr Susie Weller from the University of Southampton discusses her NCRM funded Methodological Innovation Project The potential of video telephony in qualitative longitudinal research: A participatory and interactionist approach to assessing remoteness and rapport
28 Apr 2015 Download
Surveying UK population's political attitudes – British Election Study Jane Green
How we vote and why we vote the way we do has become a key part of how we look at politics in the UK. One of the best resources around to help us pick our way through those things is the well-established British Election Study. Professor Jane Green from the University of Manchester, one of a consortium of universities running the study, discusses what the study helps us understand, how it works and how researchers and other interested individuals can get their hands on this data.
24 Mar 2015 Download
Predicting and understanding the 2015 General Election Professor John Curtice
Declining support for the main parties, allied with the rise of UKIP and the aftermath of the Scottish Independence Referendum mean that the 2015 General Election promises to be one of the most difficult to predict for many years. In addition to changes in the political landscape, the ways in which political scientists and pollsters seek to understand and predict electoral preferences have also undergone considerable transformation. At an event hosted by NCRM and the British Election Study (BES), and sponsored by the British Polling Council, Professor John Curtice from the University of Strathclyde talked through some of the key factors that might help us pick through the facts and figures and the speculation. Afterwards, he spoke to Christine Garrington for the NCRM Podcast Series.
4 Mar 2015 Download
To probe or not to probe Jouni Kuha
To probe or not to probe respondents' initial answers of "Don't know" is a key question when it comes to tackling the problem of nonresponse in surveys. In an NCRM funded Methodological Innovation Project on Item nonresponse and measurement error in cross-national surveys, Jouni Kuha from LSE has been working with colleagues at LSE and City University to see whether asking interviewers to probe respondents further affects both the quantity and the quality of their answers. He talks to Christine Garrington about findings from the research and what he thinks they mean for those involved in survey design and management.
21 Jan 2015 Download
The Collaborative Online Social Media Observatory (COSMOS): Beginnings, Emerging Findings and Possible Futures Dr. Matthew Williams and Dr. Pete Burnap
Dr. Matthew Williams and Dr. Pete Burnap from the NCRM funded Crime Sensing with Social Media project talk about the core ideas behind the founding of the ESRC supported Collaborative Online Social Media Observatory (COSMOS), highlight some of the emerging findings from the first 3 years of their projects on crime sensing, racial tension, cyberhate and Twitter user demographics, and discuss the future of the COSMOS programme and the role it has in improving our understanding of how 'online' publics' organise and react to national and global events and in democratising social media data access and big 'social' data analysis. COSMOS is a collaboration between the universities of Cardiff (Williams, Burnap, Sloan, Housley, Edwards, Rana & Morgan) Warwick (Procter) and St. Andrews (Voss).
19 Nov 2014 Download
Face 2 Face: Tracing the real and the mediated in children's cultural worlds Liam Berriman
Researching children's lives ethically in order to inform critical debates around child protection, and getting a better understanding of what it's like to research children in a digital age has been the thrust of the NCRM-funded Face to Face project at the University of Sussex. The project, which aims to develop methodological tools for researching the temporal rhythms of children's everyday lives was featured at the ESRC Research Methods Festival 2014 as part of a session looking at initiatives supporting methodological innovation in qualitative longitudinal research. Liam Berriman talks to Christine Garrington about the project.
22 Oct 2014 Download
Using Social Media in Research Jamie Bartlett
An increasing number of academics and researchers are seeking to exploit the rich data available on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. One organisation leading the way is the think-tank Demos, whose Centre for the Analysis of Social Media is working to produce political, social and policy insight and understanding through social media research. Its Director Jamie Bartlett was one of the presenters at the ESRC Research Methods Festival 2014 session on the challenges and opportunities of using social media for social science research.
17 Sep 2014 Download
Telling the untellable: researching emotionally sensitive and challenging topics Denise Turner
There can be few more emotionally sensitive and challenging research areas than looking at the deaths of children. Following the death of her own young son, social worker Denise Turner decided to investigate parents' experiences of the professional response following the death of a child. Having completed her PhD, she shared her research at the ESRC Research Methods Festival 2014, talking openly about her personal and professional take on the research and the methodological challenges she faced along the way.
11 Aug 2014 Download
Paradata in qualitative research Rosalind Edwards
A better understanding of paradata, or the by-products of the collection of survey data, could help researchers gain insights into issues around survey quality and costs. That's according to a team of NCRM-funded researchers who have been examining the paradata around Peter Townsend’s famous Poverty in the UK study, undertaken in the late 1960s. Professor Ros Edwards explains more about what paradata is, the different ways in which it can be examined and what she and the team have learned about the study, the people involved in it and the implications of the team’s findings for survey research today.
14 Jul 2014 Download
The potential of crowdsourcing for research and funding in academia Dr Andrew Hudson-Smith
When it comes to the commercial world, crowdfunding has become a mainstream means of accessing money for anyone with a great idea. But what about the possibilities when it comes to funding academic research? Dr Andrew Hudson-Smith at UCL have been exploring the benefits of crowdsourcing for information, resources and for funding. He will be sharing his thoughts and ideas with fellow academics and researchers at the ESRC Research Methods Festival.
4 Jul 2014 Download
Communicating chronic pain: Interdisciplinary methods for non-textual data Dr Jen Tarr
Chronic pain affects nearly 10 million Britons and can result in time off work and poor quality of life for many of them. Diagnosing and treating chronic pain can be particularly difficult relying heavily on the patient’s ability to communicate their symptoms to health professionals who must then listen and interpret those symptoms. New NCRM funded research by Dr Jen Tarr and colleagues from the London School of Economics have been examining innovative non-verbal ways of communicating pain to see whether pain can be expressed through more than just words.
18 Jun 2014 Download
Methodological innovation in digital arts and social sciences Carey Jewitt
It has become widely accepted that it is both worthwhile and necessary for researchers from different disciplines to work together. But how to go about this may not always be obvious and there will inevitably be challenges. In the exciting and innovative NCRM-funded MIDAS project, researchers from the worlds of Social Science and the Digital Arts have come together to look at how they might synthesise methods to open up different perspectives, generate imaginative research questions, and create a wider range of research tools, for those looking to understand the complex topic of embodiment and how we interact every day with rapidly developing technologies. Professor Carey Jewitt from the Institute of Education explains more.
10 Jun 2014 Download
Reverse engineering Chinese censorship: social media and research Gary King
Chinese social media censorship constitutes the largest selective suppression of human communication in history. It is often assumed that the Chinese Government censors any criticism of its members and policies, but research by a team at Harvard University has shown this is not quite the case. Professor Gary King, due to deliver the keynote lecture at this year’s ESRC Research Methods Festival, explains how he and students stumbled across their findings while undertaking methodological research and discusses how they might shed a new light on what the Chinese censor and why.
23 May 2014 Download
The 'Thing-ness' problem of mixed methods research Sharlene Hesse-Biber
Is mixed methods research a turbulent environment and is innovation being stifled by an overly tightly bound concept of what it is? Sharlene Hesse-Biber, professor in the Sociology Department of Boston College thinks so. Professor Hesse-Biber will be giving a Key Lecture at the ESRC Research Methods Festival in July where she will explain her thinking, how she has been reflecting on 20 years of mixed methods teaching and her hopes for the future. In this podcast, she gives a taster of what we can expect.
13 May 2014 Download
What is inclusive research? Melanie Nind
What is inclusive research? How do we recognize it, understand it, do it, and know when it is done well? It’s a much-talked about topic among the research and policy communities alike and one that’s now been addressed in a book 'What is inclusive research?' by NCRM co-director Professor Melanie Nind at the University of Southampton.

As well as looking at how and why more inclusive approaches to research have evolved, the book explores how inclusive research fits into the key debates and policy shifts. Professor Nind concludes with an overview of how far inclusive research has come, the next challenges, and the emergent understandings of what quality means and looks like in inclusive research, something she hopes will become evident at this year’s Research Methods Festival.
15 Apr 2014 Download
Mobile research tools for social sciences: Integrating genetic, environmental and behavioural data Alex Kogan
The NCRM funded project Integrating emerging smartphone and genetic initiatives to produce cost-effective, innovative methodology hopes to produce an unprecedented research tool and data source to transform the ability of social scientists to look at the interaction of hereditary factors, and people's daily environment and behaviour. Dr Alex Kogan from the University of Cambridge explains more about the project in this podcast.
20 Feb 2014 Download
Web surveys for the general population: How, why and when? Gerry Nicolaas
Cultural and technological change has made the web a possible and even desirable mode for complex social surveys, but the financial challenges faced by the Research Councils and the UK Government has accelerated this shift, creating an urgent need to explore both its potential and hazards for a range of studies. While progress has been made, there has been no real consensus about how this can best be achieved while maintaining population representativeness and preserving data quality. In this podcast Gerry Nicolaas from NatCen Social Research talks about GenPopWeb, a network of experts and professionals looking to change that.
22 Jan 2014 Download
Narrative imagination and everyday life Molly Andrews
From the challenge of envisioning our own futures to the storytelling skills of Barack Obama, a new book from the Professor Molly Andrews (NOVELLA node) explores how the links between stories and imagination affect the way we live. Narrative Imagination and Everyday Life by Professor Molly Andrews is published by Oxford University Press.
25 Nov 2013 Download
Ethnic diversity, segregation and the social cohesion of neighbourhoods in London Patrick Sturgis
The effect of ethnic diversity on communities has become an increasingly hot topic. Many academics and policy makers believe that ethnically diverse communities are characterised by distrust and low levels of social cohesion, while numerous studies show an apparent negative link between the ethnic diversity of local communities and the extent to which residents express trust in, and a sense of cohesion with, one another. In this podcast NCRM Director Patrick Sturgis discusses new research that shows a different and more complex picture.

The podcast is based on a new article Ethnic diversity, segregation and the social cohesion of neighbourhoods in London by Patrick Sturgis (NCRM, Univ. Southampton), Ian Brunton-Smith (University of Surrey), Jouni Kuha (LSE) and Jonathan Jackson (LSE) has been published in Ethnic and Racial Studies journal. The BBC News home editor Mark Easton covered this research in his article 'Is diversity good or bad for community cohesion?' (31 Oct 2013)

25 Oct 2013 Download
Simulation of daily patterns of commuting and social activity David Martin
A unique collaboration between two NCRM nodes - Talisman and the Hub is working on new methods for the simulation of 'social networks' in UK cities in order to show how individual people move around and are brought together within different residential and non-residential environments. The aim is to produce a simulation which maps individuals not just by their place of usual residence (as in the Census for example) but traces their movement patterns around the city in small parcels of elapsed time. The research could ultimately have useful applications in a range of areas from flood defence to emergency planning. In this podcast NCRM's Co-Director Professor David Martin explains the background to the project, the opportunities and challenges around using phones and Twitter in the research and talks about some of the innovative ideas being explored by early career researchers using the models created in the project.
5 Aug 2013 Download
Biosocial pathways to health George Ploubidis
Although the 20th century witnessed significant improvements in health in most countries including people living longer, older people in developed countries still account for the large majority of people in poor health. There are also clear inequalities in health and a growing body of research has demonstrated the persistence of health inequalities at older ages. It's a subject that the team at the NCRM-funded node Pathways have been looking at in recent months and in this podcast, Dr George Ploubidis explains more about the research and findings, the implications for policy makers and the importance of further robust evidence in this area to ensure effective policy interventions.
18 Jul 2013 Download
How many interviews is enough? Rosalind Edwards
Just how many interviews is enough? That is a question that students conducting a piece of qualitative research frequently ask. It is also a big question for early career researchers and established academics when they are designing research projects. Dr Sarah Baker from Middlesex University and Professor Rosalind Edwards from NCRM decided to address this question in an NCRM working paper that has since been downloaded more than 20,000 times. In this podcast Rosalind Edwards from NCRM talks about how they went about answering "How many qualitative interviews is enough?"
5 Jun 2013 Download
Relationship between employment transitions and mental health among British men Fiona Steele
The links between losing a job and and a person's mental health is of considerable interest not just to the individuals affected but to health professionals, researchers and policy makers. For researchers, there are interesting opportunities to use panel studies, where people are interviewed repeatedly over time, to look more closely at the links between the two. But along with the opportunities come challenges in measuring and analysing those links accurately.

In this podcast Professor Fiona Steele talks to Christine Garrington about new research by the LEMMA 3 node of the NCRM examining at the issue of selection bias when analysing panel data to look at the links between unemployment and mental health.

30 Apr 2013 Download
Big Data challenges for social scientists Mark Birkin
The advent of a wide range of new data sources and digital research methods has created a plethora of opportunities for social science researchers to undertake innovative and impactful research. At the NCRM-funded node TALISMAN, researchers are using new data and technologies to look at a range of geography-related real world issues, with the aim of generating new and powerful methods to help address key policy questions.

In this podcast TALISMAN Director Professor Mark Birkin talks about some of the node's work and explains why he wants more researchers to seize the new research opportunities available to them.
8 Apr 2013 Download
Digital technologies in the operating theatre Jeff Bezemer
How do surgical trainees learn to operate on real patients without increasing patient risks? How do surgeons come to make critical decisions during operations? How have new technologies changed learning and decision making? These are some of the questions being addressed in one research project at the NCRM-funded node, MODE multimodal methodologies based at the Institute of Education. Dr Jeff Bezemer talks to Christine Garrington how digital technology is being used to look at these questions and ultimately how he believes it could improve the decision-making and training processes in the operating theatre.
8 Mar 2013 Download
Digital Methods Digital Methods Researchers
In an era in which social life is increasingly played out online, innovative digital research methods are providing new ways of asking questions and generating data. But with exciting new opportunities come a number of complex challenges. In this podcast researchers from the NCRM-funded project Digital Methods as Mainstream Methodologies talk to Christine Garrington about a new network that is trying build capacity in the research community to address the opportunities and challenges that digitally inspired methods present for social research.
22 Jan 2013 Download
Understanding support for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in general populations Patrick Sturgis
The appropriate place for Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAM) in modern healthcare continues to be a hot topic in policy circles as well as amongst health practitioners. In this NCRM podcast Patrick Sturgis talks to Chris Garrington about new research funded by the Wellcome Trust, which appears to show widespread public belief that homeopathic remedies are effective.

A working paper 'Understanding support for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in general populations: Use and perceived efficacy' is available, and a journal article is forthcoming: Stoneman, P. Sturgis, P. and Allum, N. (in press) Understanding Support for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in General Populations: Use and Perceived Efficacy. PLOSone.

13 Dec 2012 Download
What are Qualitative Research Ethics Rose Wiles
From the arguments for and against undercover research to  an explosion in interest in online research, these are exciting but challenging time for researchers undertaking qualitative research. Increasing ethical regulation of social research also means it is crucial that researchers understand and engage with ethical issues as they emerge throughout the process of their work. 

In a new book, What are Qualitative Research Ethics? Dr Rose Wiles from NCRM offers an accessible overview of the field, identifying the key issues that researchers are likely to face, and the everyday ethical dilemmas that researchers encounter.

In our latest NCRM podcast Dr Wiles talks to Chris Garrington about ethics and discusses the framework proposed in her book to help researchers deal with those dilemmas.

29 Nov 2012 Download
Evaluating and improving small area estimation methods Adam Whitworth
Small area estimation methodologies are widely used across a variety of disciplines and there is growing interest and demand from policy makers in making more effective use of them. Adam Whitworth from the University of Sheffield talks to Chris Garrington about the NCRM-funded network set up to try to improve consensus and increase understanding in this important area. Read a methodological review paper 'Evaluations and improvements in small area estimation methodologies' by Whitworth et al or find out more about the network on the Evaluating and improving small area estimation methods project website.
28 Nov 2012 Download
Blurring the boundaries Gareth Morrell
Should social science researchers embrace social media and, if they do, what are the implications for our methods and practice? Gareth Morrell from NatCen Social Research talks to Chris Garrington about the NCRM-funded network exploring this question.
18 Oct 2012 Download

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