Research and Impact

Research projects

Covid-19 research

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COVID-19: policy response and societal impacts

The core team and our affiliates have been developing new research into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities at a local, national and international scale. 


The Binks Hub

The Binks Hub is a new interdisciplinary research hub championing co-created social research across the University of Edinburgh. Research Training Centre member Dr Emma Davidson will lead the initiative alongside Dr Autumn Roesch-Marsh (School of Social and Political Science) and Dr Fiona Cuthill (Health in Social Sciences). With seed funding from the Binks Trust, the Hub will work with communities to co-produce a programme of research and knowledge exchange that promotes social justice, relational research methods and human flourishing. The Hub has a core methodological commitment to arts-based practices and creative methodologies – used well, these can democratise the research process and become a powerful tool for disseminating findings and delivering impact.

Find out more on the Binks Hub website. 

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Navigating Digital Welfare

Public organisations are turning to digital, online, and automation approaches to deliver social security benefits, each claiming simplicity for service users and administrators. However, there are now multiple organisations in Scotland responsible for an increasing range of social security benefits. Each with their own application process, digital interface, and administrative approach. The Navigating Digital Welfare project focuses on parents’ experiences of applying for multiple benefits through these various digital interfaces and automated processes. Dr Hayley Bennett of the Research Training Centre forms part of the project team alongside Dr Morgan Currie and PhD student Charlotte Zealley.

Visit the Navigating Digital Welfare project website for more information.

Research activities

Artificial Intelligence and Multimorbidity: Clustering in Individuals, Space and Clinical Context (AIM-CISC)

We are excited to be involved in the Artificial Intelligence and Multimorbidity: Clustering in Individuals, Space and Clinical Context (AIM-CISC) project funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). As part of this project, Dr Alan Marshall (Research Training Centre) will lead a programme of research that models the ways in which patterns of different morbidities vary systematically across places and communities. The project will exploit data from the Scottish Longitudinal Study and Dataloch linked to individual’s Unique Property Reference Number to connect to finer geographical areas than in existing research. Collaborations with colleagues in Geography and Informatics will drive new measures of the characteristics of place such as area reputation and stigma as informed by natural language processing of media and social media data.

Advanced Care Research Centre

Combining data to improve care in later life 

The Advanced Care Research Centre (ACRC) is a major new research centre within the Data Driven Innovation project. Dr Alan Marshall (Research Training Centre) will lead 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.   

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 (Research Training Centre) 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 (Research Training Centre) 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 (Research Training Centre) 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.