Scoping Study into Quantitative Methods Capacity Building in Scotland

Summary

This scoping study was funded jointly by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Scottish Funding Council. The research was carried out in early 2007 by a multi-disciplinary team based at the University of Edinburgh, led by Susan McVie of the School of Law and SCCJR. The other co-applicants were Professor Anthony Coxon, Honorary Professorial Fellow in the School of Social & Political Studies; Philip Hawkins, Co-Director of Sigma Essex Research & Consultancy; Jackie Palmer, SCCJR; and Robin Rice, Data Librarian in the University of Edinburgh Data Library.

The scoping study was one of a series of reviews led by the ESRC to assist in the development of a National strategy to address the longstanding and increasing UK-wide deficit in quantitative skills amongst social scientists. The evidence from the Scottish scoping study indicated that Scotland’s provision of quantitative methods within social science was extremely patchy and as bad, if not worse, than that in the rest of the UK. The three main barriers to developing quantitative methods capacity in Scotland were ‘antipathy’ (reluctance by students, staff and HEI colleagues to engage with quantitative methods); ‘accessibility’ (availability of/time for training); and ‘enabling’ (lack of funding, collaborative opportunities and data access). Although such problems are not unique to Scotland, the study recommended development of a strategy that encompasses Scotland within the wider UK framework.

Project Documents ESRC/SFC Scoping Study into Quantitative Methods Capacity Building in Scotland
This report presents the findings from a scoping study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) into the capacity building needs of quantitative methods in Scotland.