Find out about the range of new and exciting study options across all the Q-Step Centres

Q-Step have recently produced a new prospectus Shaping Society, detailing the range of new and exciting study opportunities in the social sciences across all the Q-Step Centres. ‌Find out what's being offered at Queen's and elsewhere!

If you are a teacher in NI and would like a hard copy of the prospectus, please get in touch directly with the Queen's Q-Step Centre.‌

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Students from Belfast Met College visit QUB as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science
Poster created by students using the Young Life and Times survey

A-Level Sociology Students from Belfast Met College visited QUB as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science event "Researching young people: why their voices count", in conjunction with Q-Step.  The event included contributions from research staff in the Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation, the Centre for Children's Rights and ARK as well as Lecturers and PhD students from Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work.

The event introduced students to the different types of research methods used in the social sciences, from focus groups through to surveys. Some students worked in small groups to create posters, using data from the Young Life and Times survey, exploring diverse topics ranging from sex education through to community relations. Other groups engaged with debates on poverty and material deprivation, drawing on the ESRC Poverty and Social Exclusion survey data.

As well as other activities, students had the opportunity to learn how to analyse, interpret and present quantitative research; these skills are central to the aims and objectives of the Q-Step programme and are core to the BSc Sociology with Quantitative Methods - find out more here.

Thanks to all the staff and students at the Belfast Met for participating!

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Students from Bangor Academy visit the School

Students from Bangor Academy attend SUPI event - ICCR

Over 60 Year 9 ‌students from Bangor Academy visited the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work on Thursday 9th June as part of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) funded Schools-Universities Partnership Initiative (SUPI). SUPI is a scheme which provides opportunities for schools and universities to bring contemporary research to life for young people and serves as a network supporting school teachers and staff across the University. Students from Bangor Academy attend SUPI event - ARKSUPI is a cross-faculty project at Queen's and involves Area Learning Communities throughout NI.

The students participated in a diverse range of activities from exploring human rights and immigration with Lecturer in Law Dr Natasa Mavronicola through to action-based learning with Dr David Grant, Senior Lecturer in the School of Creative Arts.

‌Students were also exposed to a range of research techniques used in the social sciences, including focus groups with researchers in the Institute for Childcare Research Dr Leeanne O'Hara and Dr Grace Kelly and surveys with ARK research team Dr Paula Devine and Dr Dirk Schubotz.‌


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Q-Step bursaries for MRes students undertaking quantitative research

The Queen's Q-Step Centre is delighted to announce 2016/7 bursaries for MRes students undertaking quantitative research.

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Over two hundred students from across NI visit Queen's

On Thursday 26th November, over two hundred students from across NI attended the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work's Annual Conference in the Whitla Hall, Queen's University Belfast. Professor Sally Shortall, Head of School, presented the winner of the Q-Step Sociologist of the Year poster competition with her prize. Dr Eoin Flaherty, Q-Step Lecturer in Sociology, also spoke to the students about the need for quantitative research skills to answer pressing social science questions. The students got the opportunity to browse posters created by second year Q-Step Work Placement students and vote on the best poster. 

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ESRC Festival of Social Science event - 13th November

Q-Step Lecturers welcomed around 100 students on QUB campus today from the Belfast Metropolitan College and South Eastern Regional College for an ESRC Festival of Social Science event. 

The event Making Sense of Migration and Mobility provided students with the chance to learn about many aspects of migration throughout history and today and to see first-hand how social scientists collect and organise ‌research data. The event included short presentations, interactive lectures, staff-facilitated discussions and data displays.

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Q-Step Masterclass on 22nd Oct - Professor Mark Hayward, University of Texas at Austin

‌The Long arm of childhood: Early life disadvantage, educational attainment and healthy life expectancy

Slides available here

Thursday 22nd October at 5.00pm, in 01/52 Lanyon Building, Queen’s University Belfast

The Queen's Q-Step Centre is pleased to welcome renowned Sociology Professor Mark Hayward from the University of Texas at Austin, as part of our Q-Step Masterclass series.

Professor Hayward's seminar will address how educational attainment potentially compensates for childhood disadvantages and poor health in extending healthy life expectancy.

Please see the website for details of other upcoming events.

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ESRC Festival of Social Science event, November 2015

The Queen's Q-Step Centre has been awarded funding to run an ESRC Festival of Social Science event on 13th November 2015. More details will be added to the Events and Seminars section of our website.

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Queen's Q-Step Centre and ARK contribute to a symposium on quantitative methods, Social Policy Association, July 2015

A paper by Dr Paula Devine, Deputy Director of ARK and Dr Chris Raymond, Q-Step Lecturer in Politics was presented at the recent Social Policy Association Conference held in Belfast. The paper was part of a symposium on quantitative methods, organised along with Sheffield, Bristol and Kent Q-Step Centres. More details about the conference are available here.

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Introducing school children to the social sciences: RCUK Schools-Universities Partnership Initiative

The Queen's Q-Step Centre was recently involved in the RCUK Schools-Universities Partnership Initiative. Just under one hundred Year 9 students from a range of schools from the Magherafelt Learning Partnership attended workshops on campus on the theme "Crossing Borders in the 21st Century”. The workshops were devised and ran by Dr Chris Raymond (Q-Step Lecturer in Politics, School of Politics, International Studies, and Philosophy), Dr Natasa Mavronicola (School of Law) and Dr Vikki O'Neill (Q-Step Lecturer in Statistics, School of Mathematics and Physics). Dr Eoin Flaherty and Dr Cate McNamee (Q-Step Lecturers in Sociology, School of Sociology, Social Policy, and Social Work), along with PhD students (Lisa Wilson, Claire Cole, Hannah Mitchell) also assisted on the day.

The workshops were designed to provide a “hands-on” introduction to several important themes relating to borders in contemporary society and politics and used specific examples to show the importance of understanding the roles and definitions of borders as they relate to Northern Ireland.

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Q-Step Masterclass: Wednesday 13 May at 5pm

Digging for Data – Using Freedom of Information for Public Understanding

Location - The Great Hall, Lanyon Building, Queen's University Belfast

Award winning Investigative journalist Kathryn Torney (The Detail) demonstrates how she uses the Freedom of Information Act to extract statistical data from public bodies in order to increase public understanding of social issues.

To register your interest in attending please click here.

Download slides click here.

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Apply now for 2015 entry: BSc Sociology with Quantitative Methods

We are introducing a new degree pathway for 2015 entry: BSc Sociology with Quantitative Methods. Sociology is often described as ‘the science of society’: it explains how societies work, which is often different from how people think they work. One way of understanding social trends is to count people, activities and events. Societies are awash with data on every aspect of people’s lives: sociologists specialise in making sense of such data.

The BSc Sociology with Quantitative Methods combines the curiosity of social inquiry with the quantitative skills required to collect and analyse social data. The new pathway includes specialised training in quantitative methods, paid work placements during the summer and awards for final year projects.

Find out more about this exciting degree opportunity.

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Q-Step Lecturers organised successful 2014 Belfast Festival of Social Science event

As part of the 2014 Belfast Festival of Social Science, Q-Step Lecturers Dr Vikki O'Neill and Dr Eoin Flaherty organised an event called "Migration and Mobility from Past to Present". The workshop combined interactive presentations and graphic exhibits based on ARK and NOMIS data, depicting changing patterns of migration and mobility within Belfast and beyond, over the last two centuries. With an illustrative presentation from Queen's Professor Stephen A. Royle on historic emigration to North America before the Famine and a poignant presentation from the SS Nomadic's Gayle Campbell, it was an event not to miss. The event was part of the Q-Step programme's aim to develop quantitative skills amongst young social scientists, by improving literacy in quantitative social science data.

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Summer 2014 Q-Step Work Placements

The Queen’s Q-Step Centre organised a total of eight paid summer work placements with a range of employers, from the Northern Ireland Assembly to The Detail, an investigative journalism organisation.  The students had the opportunity to draw on their quantitative research training during the placements. Feedback from the students and employers was very positive and we are looking forward to developing future opportunities for our social science students. For more information on the Q-Step work placements, please click here.

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Q-Step Lecturers hosted Nuffield Research Placement students

Dr Eoin Flaherty, Q-Step Lecturer in Sociology, hosted a fifth-year student over the summer as part of the Nuffield Research Placement Programme. The student compiled a dataset using data from the annual Irish Agricultural Censes of 1847-1850. Although much has been written about general causes of the Irish Famine of 1845-1852, less is understood about drivers of regional variation in distress levels. Combining data from other sources, we discovered that regional-level measures of crop production and land poverty were strongly associated with the uptake of relief rations during the peak famine months of 1847. These results suggest there may be strong geographical patterns not only in the distribution of distress across the island, but in the relative strength of different factors at different locations.

Dr Vikki O'Neill, Q-Step Lecturer in Statistics, also hosted a student as part of the programme. The student explored the topic of obesity and considered the use of surveys to investigate this topical research area. A poster about the project can be downloaded here.


For more details about the Nuffield Research Placement Scheme, please click here

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2014/2015 Q-Step Dissertation Award: applications welcome

On foot of last year’s successful Q-Step Dissertation Award scheme, which supported various projects from researching the needs of children and young people in the criminal justice system through to a comparative study of attitudes to migration using the European Social Survey, we are pleased to announce that applications are now welcome for the 2014/5 awards. Third year Sociology, Criminology and Politics students undertaking quantitative research in their dissertations are eligible to apply. The deadline for applications is 14th November 2014. For more information on our Q-Step Awards, please click here.

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2014 Belfast Festival of Social Science event

Dr Eoin Flaherty and Dr Vikki O’Neill, Queen’s Q-Step Lecturers, were successful in their application to host an event as part of the 2014 Belfast Festival of Science, to be run in partnership with the Economic and Social Research Council’s National Festival of Social Science. 

Applications were invited from staff working at either Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Ulster or from external organisations across Northern Ireland who wished to collaborate with a social scientist based at either University for funding support to run an event as part of the festival. All events must be free to attend and should have, as an overall goal, the objective of promoting and increasing the awareness of social sciences research beyond the academic community.

Eoin and Vikki's event Migration, Mobility, and Social Analysis from Past to Present will take place on the 7th November


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4 new Q-Step lectureships appointed

As part of the Queen’s Q-Step Centre, 4 new Lecturers were appointed and took up their positions earlier this year. Dr Eoin Flaherty and Dr Cate MacNamee have been appointed as Lecturers in Sociology, Dr Vikki O’Neill has been appointed as Lecturer in Statistics and Dr Christopher Raymond as Lecturer in Politics.  

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