Please note: This course will be delivered in person at the Colchester campus. Online study is not available for this course.

Roxana D. Baltaru is an Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Bergen. Prior to this role she has worked at the University of Warwick and at the University of Essex. Her research covers a range of topics concerning the relationship between higher education and society, including the organisational expansion of universities, financial sustainability, and inclusion in higher education. 

Course Content
The ability to understand quantitative data and to conduct analysis by using a statistical software is increasingly important in academic research as well as in the job market. This course will provide a gentle introduction to quantitative analysis for social science research and to the statistical software SPSS. The course will cover the following topics:

(a) applications of quantitative analysis for social science research

(b) the use of statistical software in quantitative analysis

(c) data and measurement

(d) descriptive statistics

(e) assessing relationships between social phenomena

(f) simple and multiple regression analysis

(g) introduction to logistic regression

Course Objectives
By the end of this course you will have developed confidence to engage with quantitative analysis in your own research and to highlight the ability to conduct quantitative analysis using SPSS as part of your skills. For academic researchers who have previously engaged with different methods e.g. qualitative approaches, this course will open new possibilities of engaging with quantitative data that exist in their fields. For participants who wish to undertake this course in order to enhance their employability, this course will build up skills of engaging with real world data which are transferable to a range of organisational contexts such as survey research, policy research and market research. All participants will have developed a good understanding of SPSS which will enable them to further expand their knowledge of statistical software for social science research.

Course Prerequisites
This is an introductory level course which requires no background in quantitative analysis. On a technical side, participants are expected to have basic numeracy skills e.g. addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, experience of using a computer and basic familiarity with data entry in software such as Excel. On a substantive side, participants are expected to know what is a research question, what are the broader purposes of social science research, and to be able to distinguish between social science data and other types of data.

Representative Background Reading
European Social Survey (2012). Experiences and Expressions of Ageism: Topline Results (UK) from Round 4 on the European Social Survey. ESS Country Specific Topline Results.
Schneider, S. (2011). Measuring Educational Attainment. Survey Question Bank Topic Overview 6. Colchester: University of Essex.

Required Text  (this text will be provided by ESS): Field Andy, Discovering Statistics Using SPSS, 2005 (other editions also applicable)

Background Knowledge


Calculus – elementary




Session 1 Introduction to quantitative research and SPSS

Session 2 From concepts to variables

Session 3 Descriptive statistics

Session 4 Correlation

Session 5 Inferential statistics

Session 6 Statistical tests

Session 7 Simple linear regression

Session 8 Multiple regression

Session 9 Logistic regression

Session 10 Revision