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

Angus Bancroft

Professor Angus Bancroft
Director of The Research Training Centre

Angus uses qualitative, ethnographic and big data methods to research illicit drug use and illicit markets, the darknet and informal economies, and how social platforms can be used to support resilient communities.

Kevin Ralston

Dr Kevin Ralston
Lecturer in Sociology and Quantitative Methods and Director of the Edinburgh Q-Step Centre

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

Carin Runciman

Dr Carin Runciman
Senior Lecturer in Social Policy

Carin’s research analyses collective action in post-apartheid South Africa using a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods.

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.

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.

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

Dr 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

Dr Ben Collier
Lecturer in Digital Methods

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

Dr Alan Marshall
Senior Lecturer in Quantitative Methods

Alan uses longitudinal data from social surveys in the UK and overseas to better understand the social and biological determinants of inequalities observed in health and wellbeing in later life. 

Orian Brook

Dr Orian Brook
Chancellor's Fellow in Social Policy

Orian’s research uses quantitative and mixed methods, especially spatial analysis and administrative data, to study social and spatial inequalities. She has a particular focus on the creative economy, both cultural consumption and creative employment.

Nicola Wilson

Nicola Wilson
Research Training Centre 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.