University of Edinburgh Q-Step Centre hosts residential summer school for 50 teenagers

The University of Edinburgh Q-Step Centre team recently hosted a week long residential summer school for 50 teenagers interested in finding out more about the application of maths and statistics in the social sciences. Edinburgh hosts one of the Q-Step Centres funded under Q-Step to develop new and exciting ways of teaching quantitative methods to undergraduate social scientists.  This was held in collaboration with the charity Headstart, which aims to increase the number of school students who continue to study maths in one form or another at University.

Under the direction of Dr Alison Koslowski in Social Policy, the Centre is part of the Q-Step Programme, a UK-wide, £19m programme to strengthen undergraduate quantitative methods training in social science.

The whole Q-Step community was involved in the delivery of the summer school - from our first cohort of undergraduate students through to our Professors.  Our undergraduates acted as student ambassadors and increased their own tutoring and statistical programming skills as they worked with the school students.  PhD students, new members of staff and established members of staff engaged in team teaching, allowing everyone to pick up some new tricks from colleagues – not so much peer observation of teaching as peer learning. 

The course gave the students an introduction to using the free statistical software “R” to analyse open access European Social Survey data to investigate social questions of their choice. They enjoyed it greatly, praising the supportiveness of the staff and tutors (from Sociology, Politics and Social Policy). We hope they will now choose to come and study social science with us in the years to come on our new ‘with Quantitative Methods” UG degree options!

To find out more abou the University of Edinburgh Q-Step Centre, please visit their dedicated website: www.q-step.ed.ac.uk/programmes