Research & impact

Research projects

Also take a look at our COVID-19 research page

Advanced Care Research Centre

Combining data to improve care in later life 

The Research Training Centre is excited to be involved in the Advanced Care Research Centre (ACRC) a major new research Centre within the Data Driven Innovation project. Alan Marshall is one of the leads of a work package within ACRC that aims to better understand change and inter-relationships in outcomes of health, wellbeing and social participation among older people with particular focus on the final years of life.

A key methodological challenge will be finding ways to combine data and insights from social surveys, such as the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing with administrative data on use of health services.The project is interdisciplinary, combining expertise in General Practice, Social Science, Social Statistics and Machine Learning with the aim of better identifying individuals for whom interventions might prevent or delay experience of adverse events such as a fall or mortality.   

decorative image of couples walking down a street

Gender based violence 

The University of Edinburgh (UoE) Gender Based Violence research project will scope, develop and implement an approach to capture data on gender-based violence experienced by staff and students at the university. The project will consider the most robust, effective and feasible options for UoE to a) understand the scale and nature of the problem, b) reduce incidence and c) develop effective responses. Using international, national, UoE and survivor expertise the research team will co-develop and implement a mixed-method programme of research to provide an evidence base from which to assess the extent of the issue of gender-based violence on, and related to the campus, and how to effectively tackle it. The research is led by Dr Claire Houghton along with colleagues in Social Work and beyond.

Research sessions

Reproducible research

There is increasing recognition throughout a range of academic disciplines that empirical research results cannot be straightforwardly reproduced because of a lack of transparency in the research process. There is a growing recognition of the need for researchers to change their research practices and publication approaches to ensure that other researchers can easily understand, evaluate and build on previous research work.

Members of The Research Training Centre, Dr Roxanne Connelly and Professor Vernon Gayle, are involved in research which aims to develop the use of transparent and reproducible research techniques by researchers in the social sciences. The Research Training Centre will organise workshops concerning research transparency and reproducibility, and we ultimately aim to embed the principles of open social science throughout social science methods teaching at Edinburgh. 


Big Qualitative Data 

The use of computational text analysis has increased rapidly across the humanities and social sciences. Interest has been fuelled by the breadth and availability of ‘Big Data’ and its ability to extract understanding from very large and complex data sets. Big Data is often associated with quantitative research and ‘number crunching’, while rather less attention is given to the integration of these approaches into qualitative social research methodologies.

The growing availability of ‘big’ qualitative datasets, both through archives and large multi-site qualitative research, presents new opportunities for qualitative research. In response to these opportunities, Dr Emma Davidson (Social Policy) and Professor Lynn Jamieson (Sociology) have been exploring the potential benefits of ‘Big Qual’ – that is the analysis of volumes of qualitative data that are much larger than the quantity that would be feasible for a solo researcher or small team to collect and analyse themselves.

You can read more about the project, our publications and access our training resources here:

Resource Hub
Teaching resources

Girl reading comic

Statistical Anxiety 

This study explores maths anxiety and the implications for learning social statistics among secondary school students and teachers. The research, led by Helen Packwood and Gitit Kadar-Satat (University of Warwick) collects data on statistical reasoning, perceptions of and attitudes toward social statistics, and maths anxiety.

It aims to identify what support do teachers need in order to engage with social statistics in their teaching, promote good practice and provide more focused support for individual learners.



Children and Families Affected by Domestic Abuse (CAFADA project)

This is a UK-wide, ESRC funded research project based across five universities. It aims to examine specific instances of innovation in domestic services and synthesise these findings to identify a model for coproduced, implementation science-informed evaluation of public sector innovation. Dr Claire Houghton (RTC) and Professor of Childhood Studies, Kay Tisdall (MHSE) are Co-I’s and lead on the Co-Production workpackage – ensuring children, young people and non-abusing parents participate in research design, delivery, evaluation and knowledge exchange/impact.

For more information visit the CAFADA project website.