Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences PUBPOL4025

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The course introduces quantitative research methods commonly used in the Social Sciences.


Lecture - Tuesdays 10-11. One hour weekly labs - times to be confirmed.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements

Entry to Honours Social & Public Policy normally requires a grade point average of 12 (grade C3) over Social & Public Policy 2A and 2B (formerly Public Policy 2A and 2B) as a first attempt.

Excluded Courses




The summative assessment will consist of:

- One lab workbook reflective log (500 words), 30%

- One report (3000 words) on interpretation and writing up findings of a regression model, based on a list of guiding questions and template, 60%

-Participation in labs and completion of lab workbook, a pass (A1) or fail (E1) would be awarded for meeting the minimum threshold (70%) for each of the components: i) lab attendance (approved absences exempted), and; ii) evidence of completion of lab workbook exercises. 10%

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The course introduces quantitative research methods commonly used in the Social Sciences. It will provide you with an opportunity to acquire skills in research design, data collection and data analysis. You will learn how to use a statistical programme for social scientists (R).


A grounding in quantitative methods will allow you to understand a wider range of academic literature, better understand the social and political world, and provide an important transferable skill attractive to employers.


Specific topics will include: why quantitative research matters; research design and research questions; sampling and questionnaire design; introduction to statistical analysis; univariate statistics; relationships between variables; the mis-presentation of data; ethical issues.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles of quantitative research design and strategy;

■ select appropriate quantitative research methods for use in different research settings and be able to explain and justify your selection;

■ construct research hypotheses and demonstrate basic skills in question formulation and questionnaire design;

■ assess the use of quantitative research methods in the secondary literature;

■ use R to manipulate and analyse basic data;

■ present research findings clearly and concisely in text, tabular and graphical forms;

■ apply quantitative research methods to your specific discipline.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.