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Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research

Introduction to Data Analysis 1

Dates: 1 November 2018 and 15 May 2019
Time: 10am - 4.30pm
Instructor: Jennifer Buckley
Level: Introductory
Fee: £195 (£140 for those from educational, government and charitable institutions). 

CMI offers up to five subsidised places at a reduced rate of £60 per course day to research staff and students within Humanities at The University of Manchester. These places are awarded in order of application. In some instances, such as for unfunded PhD students, we may be able to offer free or bursary places.

Please note: this is not guaranteed and is considered on a case by case basis. Please contact us for more information.


This course provides an introduction to the theory and methods of quantitative data analysis, focusing on the social survey. It has an emphasis on hands-on learning, with a series of practical sessions using the statistical software package SPSS to explore data from the British Social Attitudes survey.


The course will:

  • introduce participants to survey data as a key quantitative resource for social science research;
  • introduce the structure and properties of survey data and consider the process by which variables in a dataset are derived;
  • explain the distinction between interval and discrete variables;
  • consider strategies for exploratory data analysis including methods for describing and summarising variable distributions;
  • provide participants with a conceptual understanding of the stages involved in exploring the relationship between variables;
  • provide essential skills of data manipulation including selecting sub-sets and recoding;
  • introduce the visual representation of variables in scatter graphs, bar charts and histograms.


The course is designed for new users of survey data and does not presume any previous knowledge or experience working with quantitative methods.

It would be particularly appropriate for those who may anticipate working with a survey dataset and who wish to learn the basics of exploratory data analysis, possibly as a foundation for more advanced training.

The course stands alone but is designed as a precursor to Introduction to Data Analysis 2, where the attention moves to the analysis of relationships between variables and testing hypotheses.

Together the courses provide an excellent basis for moving on to training in more advanced methods such as logistic and multiple regression.

Recommended reading

  • Field, A. (2012) Discovering statistics using SPSS for Windows: London: SAGE Publications.
  • De Vaus, David. (2002) Analyzing Social Science Data: London: SAGE Publications.
  • De Vaus, David. (2002) Surveys in Social Research, 5th ed., London: Routledge
  • Rumsey, D. (2003) Statistics for Dummies. Wiley Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Blaikie, N. (2003) Analyzing Quantitative Data: from description to explanation, London, SAGE Publications.

About the instructor