Information for (Prospective) Students
Q-Step at the University of Glasgow
Q-Step is a national programme aimed at achieving step-changes in undergraduate quantitative social science training in the UK. Q-step is motivated by the UK’s shortage of social science graduates with quantitative skills. There are fifteen Q-step Centres located in different universities across the UK. The objective of these centres is to support the development and delivery of specialist undergraduate quantitative programmes, through the development of new courses, work experience opportunities and pathways to postgraduate study.After a competitive bidding process, the University of Glasgow succeeded in receiving funding for the establishment of a Q-Step Centre in the School of Social and Political Sciences (SSPS).
The Q-Step Centre is supported by two lecturers in Quantitative Social Science. Additionally, Q-step has a presence in the School of Education (SoE) through one post (Lecturer in Quantitative Social Sciences (Education)) and in the School of Mathematics and Statistics also through one lecturer post (Lecturer in Statistics). These roles are intended to improve undergraduate students’ quantitative literacy throughout SSPS and SoE. The Q-Step team of lecturers have developed a separate Quantitative Methods programme with new courses for students in SSPS, and have contributed to the enhancement of existing courses, embedding quantitative approaches and tools across the undergraduate courses within SSPS and SoE. The programme for Scotland is funded by the Nuffield Foundation and ESRC.
What is a degree with Q-Step?
These degrees are part of a UK wide initiative. A Q-step degree is typically a degree in a substantive social science topic enhanced by sustained training in Quantitative Methods and Analysis. Q-Step graduates are able to understand numbers, analyse data, evaluate evidence, and design and commission research, skills and knowledge that areincreasingly in demand from employers in various sectors (academia, government, business and charities).
Do I need Maths?
No. These degrees involve courses in research methods that use social science statistics to help us understand and analyse the social world. There is a mathematical basis to this statistical approach and those that enjoyed maths and/or took maths to Higher or A-Level may be particularly drawn to these courses.
Students who had a less positive experience of Maths at school shouldn’t automatically reject these courses. We don't require you to have any maths or statistics qualifications other than those required for normal entry to the University of Glasgow’s undergraduate programme.
We assume therefore that you may have had a significant gap since you last explicitly worked with numbers and our courses are built with this in mind. QM1 starts with an induction session to re-familiarise you with some core concepts and introduce you to the software that we will use. A lot of the skills that you will use are interpretative; they are about making sense of what the numbers mean rather than the mathematical manipulation of these numbers. And because we use contemporary as well as historical data, data relevant to Glasgow as well as global data, and data that speak directly to some of the core problems still facing social scientists, we will be teaching you essential skills for producing credible data for a range of audiences, vital for producing world changing graduates.
Students will graduate with:
- Proficiency in Quantitative Research and Analysis (Data Analysis)
Quantitative Research is endemic in the social sciences, including politics, sociology, criminology, public policy, urban studies, and other social science disciplines. The use of quantitative methods in social sciences is rapidly increasing every year. It is therefore essential for students to develop basic working knowledge of quantitative research in their field. Further to this, quantitative skills and data analysis are high in demand by employers. Q-Step degrees are designed to develop these skills and create the future data minded social science graduates.
- Robust Understanding of Quantitative Evidence
Graduates will be able to understand and assess quantitative evidence as presented in academic literature but also in public media and government reports. Understanding means making sense of numbers presented in figures and tables and, most importantly, being able to critically evaluate the methods applied to collect and analyse the presented data in order to draw conclusions. This presupposes knowledge of study/research design, and an understanding of the limitations of important British and International secondary data sets such as, Scottish Election Study, the British Cohort Studies or PISA .
- The ability to present and discuss Quantitative Results
Social science students are increasingly entering a workforce where quantitative literacy and skills provide an employment edge and are often a necessity for some positions. Not only do students need to understand quantitative results, but also how to present data and results, and discuss their substantive implications. A key skill is understanding the best approaches to visualization of data and quantitative results. Specifically, social science students must be able to locate data and results, and then manipulate the information for easy digestion and understanding by others. This ability is applicable to a wide range of professions domestically and internationally.