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Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research

Data, Skills and Training

Background information

This research group focuses on developing a research agenda around data, skills and training, with a particular emphasis on statistical and data literacy. The group covers the following activities, all based at the Cathie Marsh Institute (CMIST): Administrative Data Service Training, CMIST Short Courses, methods@manchester, National Centre for Research Methods, Q-Step, and UK Data Service User Support and Training.

Events and activities

Upcoming events

Past events

Selected projects and grants

  • UK Data Service
    The UK Data Service is a comprehensive resource funded by the ESRC to support researchers, teachers and policymakers who depend on high-quality social and economic data. Here you will find a single point of access to a wide range of secondary data including large-scale government surveys, international macrodata, business microdata, qualitative studies and census data from 1971 to 2011. All are backed with extensive support, training and guidance to meet the needs of data users, owners and creators. The CMIST team provide expertise on government surveys, census microdata, and user support and training.

  • Manchester Q-Step Centre
    Q-Step is a £19.5 million programme designed to promote a step-change in quantitative social science training. The Manchester Q-Step Centre is undertaking a range of activities to support the development of quantitative skills on our undergraduate social science programmes. These include a range of new courses, dissertation support and a nationally recognised programme of summer internships. We place up to 50 students a year with a wide range of organisations, working on projects designed to develop and practice quantitative data skills in a real research setting

    Over a five-year period from 2013, fifteen universities across the UK are delivering specialist undergraduate programmes, including new courses, work placements and internships, and pathways to postgraduate study. Expertise and resources will be shared across the higher education sector through an accompanying support programme, which will also forge links with schools and employers.

    A news story about one of the previous Q-Step interns, demonstrating the value placed by employers on quantitative skills, features on the University website. Short promotional films are available on the Q-Step website on the Students’ Stories page.

  • NCRM
    In 2004 the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) set up the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) at the University of Southampton. NCRM was tasked to increase the quality and range of methodological approaches used by UK social scientists through a programme of training and capacity building, and with driving forward methodological development and innovation through its own research programme. From October 2014 the NCRM formed a partnership between The University of Edinburgh and The University of Manchester, both of which have international reputations in methodological research and training in the social sciences.

  • ADRN
    The Administrative Data Research Network enables accredited researchers gain access to de-identified linked administrative data so they can carry out social and economic research in secure environments. This research could inform government policy and has the potential to benefit society. The Network provides a service that includes training researchers, working with the data custodians and setting up secure environments where researchers do their work.

  • methods@manchester
    methods@manchester is an initiative that highlights Manchester's strength in research methods in the social sciences. We run ‘What is..?’ and ‘How to…?' events, a postgraduate Methods Fair every November, and a Summer School. We are increasingly engaging with external organisations who undertake data analysis.

  • CMIST Short Courses
    We run training courses, from 1-3 days, to support researchers and practitioners undertake quantitative data analysis. More information can be found on our events pages.

  • CHERIL Project: £18,500
    Project Title: Summer internships – what works? Evidencing impact of undergraduate quantitative skills from the University of Manchester Q-Step Centre’s Pilot Year 

  • ESRC IAA Project
    Project Title: Short films, big impact: bringing research to life through storytelling