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The University of Southampton

STAT6077 Key Topics in Social Science: Measurement and Data

Module Overview

This module introduces key sources of social science data (both UK and non-UK), and the measurement of key concepts using these data, within a range of substantive areas. In doing so it focuses on the analysis of a number of fundamental social issues – including (for example) poverty and inequality, social mobility, and educational attainment and achievement. The module links the conceptual and practical: it touches on debates about how these issues should be understood, and examines how these issues are operationalised and measured in practice using quantitative measures. It also introduces students to the use of the STATA statistical software package.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aims of the module are to: • Provide an overview of conceptual and practical issues involved in the measurement of key social issues; • Introduce key sources of social science data used to measure these issues empirically; • Develop key skills in the analysis of data using Stata.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Appraise a variety of measures used to examine a variety of important social issues.
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different data sources for empirical research on these issues.
  • Apply STATA programming commands to manipulate and analyse data; and interpret STATA output.
  • Create your own empirical analyses on these social issues, applying your learning about relevant data, suitable measures and statistical software.


The range of subjects across the social sciences that are measured with quantitative data is very broad and the content of the module will need to be selective. The module will in particular cover topics relevant to core dimensions of living standards – for example, income inequality and poverty, education, work patterns, social mobility, crime, attitudinal data and subjective wellbeing. From year to year different topics will be covered, although at least one of the topics of income inequality and poverty will be taught each year. The content of the module will also vary with staff availability. A major feature of this module is the exposure to STATA.

Special Features

In computer workshops, you will use key UK data sources from which national statistics are derived (e.g. unemployment rate, poverty incidence).

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching and learning is through a mixture of a) lectures and b) computer workshops using the statistical software STATA. In the computer workshops students analyse data relating to the key topics discussed during the lectures.

Independent Study80
Total study time100

Resources & Reading list

Other. This module will not have one key textbook. Instead students will be exposed to a variety of texts and articles which explain the conceptual and practical issues involved in the quantitative measurement of key social issues. These texts will be available to students either through Blackboard or through the electronic resources accessed on the University Library website.

Other. You will require access to the STATA software, which is available on the University’s computer workstations. Note that this software is not currently available for download to your own computer for use with your studies



MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment  ( words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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