About us

Research Training Centre: 50 years of methodological contributions in the Social Sciences

At the Research Training Centre, we apply expertise in a diverse set of social science methods through teaching and research to contribute new insights to the key challenges in society.

The Research Training Centre is based in the School of Social and Political Science, bringing together our key methods initiatives of Q-Step, AQMEN and NCRM, to build on a long tradition of contributions in the development and application of social science methods.

Our core aims are to:

  • provide training in a broad range of social science methods to staff and students in Edinburgh and beyond
  • apply rigorous social science methods to societal problems in ways that make impact
  • generate new research contributions through cutting edge social science methodological development and innovation
  • (co)develop mixed methods approaches to address structural intersectional inequalities

Meet the team

Alan Marshall

Dr Alan Marshall
Director of The Research Training Centre

Alan is the founding Director of the Research Training Centre having previously directed Edinburgh Q-Step Centre (2017-19) and the CALLS-Hub initiative.

Emma Davidson

Dr Emma Davidson
Lecturer in Social Policy and Qualitative Methods

Emma is an expert in the analysis of qualitative data; developing techniques to think about, handle and analyse large volumes of complex qualitative data.

Roxanne Connelly

Dr Roxanne Connelly
Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Quantitative Methods

Roxanne is a sociologist who uses quantitative research methods and longitudinal data to study social inequalities.

Kevin Ralston

Dr Kevin Ralston
Lecturer in Sociology and Quantitative Methods

Kevin is a specialist in quantitative data analysis and has published extensively on statistics anxiety and quantitative analysis of social inequality.

Claire Houghton

Dr Claire Houghton
Lecturer in Social Policy and Qualitative Research

Claire is an expert on gender based violence research using qualitative methods. She works extensively with young people, government and the third sector to create policy impact.

Helen Packwood

Dr Helen Packwood
Lecturer in Social Research Methods

Helen has considerable expertise in mixed methods research, her work combines longitudinal quantitative and qualitative data to explore inequalities.

Chris Barrie

Christopher Barrie
Lecturer in Computational Sociology

Christopher is a political sociologist specialising in the fields of protest, conflict, media, and communication. His work focuses principally on the Middle East and North Africa.
Ben Collier

Ben Collier
Lecturer in Digital Methods

Ben’s research uses mixed-methods approaches to study power, crime, and harm in digital infrastructure.
Hayley Bennett

Dr Hayley Bennett
Lecturer in Social Policy

Hayley’s research examines inequality and poverty by studying the design and delivery of welfare services, social security, labour market programmes, and anti-poverty initiatives.

Ugur Ozdemir

Dr Ugur Ozdemir
Lecturer in Quantitative Political Science

Ugur’s research uses quantitative methods and experimental data to study political behaviour. His  most recent projects focus on the role of basic human values and religious identity in authoritarian regime support.

Shaina Western

Dr Shaina Western
Lecturer in International Relations and Quantitative Methods

Shaina is a political scientist who studies international cooperation, international organisations, international law and bargaining. Her work uses quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods.

Valeria Skafida

Dr Valeria Skafida
Senior Lecturer in Social Policy

Valeria uses quantitative methods to explore social inequalities in children’s lives. Her specific interests are longitudinal surveys and analytical techniques. Her most recent research focuses on children growing up with domestic abuse. 

Nicola Wilson

Nicola Wilson
Research Training Centre Administrative Officer

Nicola has extensive experience of managing a busy schedule of training and knowledge exchange events, working with partners in academia and beyond.

Meet the affiliates

Our affiliates span the School of Social and Political Science and beyond, contributing directly to our teaching, research and knowledge exchange activities.