Evaluation of the Q-Step Programme

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The Nuffield Foundation has recently published an independent evaluation of the Q-Step programme.

Q-Step currently operates in 17 universities across the UK and was established in 2013 as a strategic response to the shortage of graduates with the right skills for careers in research and other data-led professions. Q-Step was developed by the Nuffield Foundation, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

The primary finding of the evaluation (carried out by Technopolis Group) is that Q-Step is helping to address the shortage of graduates with the skills to apply quantitative methods in both research and professional settings. 15 months after graduation:

  • 46% of graduates who take quantitative ‘Q-Step’ courses during their social science degree earn over £25k per year, compared to 30% of graduates without such training
  • 72% of graduates who take quantitative ‘Q-Step’ courses during their social science degree are employed in highly skilled jobs, compared to 59% graduates without such training

Q-Step equips students with a deep and secure grasp of the skills needed to make sense of data and a grounding in the ways that data can be used to better understand society.

The evaluation also found that Q-Step has increased quantitative teaching capacity at participating universities and has prompted a range of further investment and initiatives designed to boost quantitative methods across these institutions, as well as in other universities and educational organisations.

The University of Edinburgh was particularly commended for its Q-Step Academy outreach work which was described as ‘outstanding’, its collaboration with Q-Step Glasgow and the establishment of the Research Training Centre.

The evaluation recommends that Q-Step be used as a case study to encourage other universities to invest in similar quantitative methods training for social science students.

Read the full report on the Nuffield Foundation website >>>


Photo by Robynne Hu on Unsplash


The Research Training Centre applies expertise in a diverse set of social science methods, through teaching and research. The Centre provides new insights to the key challenges in society.

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