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The University of Southampton
Southampton Education SchoolPostgraduate study

Ms Debbie Collins MSc, BA

Postgraduate Researcher , Director Of NatCen Learning, NatCen Social Research

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Debbie Collins is a postgraduate researcher at the University of Southampton Education School, Faculty of Social Sciences

Debbie has a degree in Geography and Sociology and a Masters in Social Research Methods. After graduating Debbie worked for the Social Survey Division of what is now the Office for National Statistics on the Labour Force Survey, National Diet and Nutrition Survey of Children aged 1.5 to 4.5 years and question development for the 2001 Census. Debbie went on to work for market research agency IPSOS RSL in their social research unit before joining NatCen Social Research (, first in the Employment, Welfare and Crime team and then in the Survey Methods Centre.

Debbie is a co-founder of NatCen’s Questionnaire Development and Testing Hub and editor and co-author of the 2014 Sage book ‘Cognitive Interviewing Practice’

Debbie is also Director of NatCen Learning, which provides advanced social research methods training.

Debbie is a member of the organising committee of the 2016 international conference on Questionnaire Design, Development, Evaluation and Testing (QDET2)  


Research interests

Debbie’s interests are in the use of digital technologies in the teaching of advanced social research methods, questionnaire design, question testing and evaluation methods including cognitive interviewing, usability testing, and survey methodology.

PhD research

Debbie’s research is looking at the teaching and learning of advanced social research methods (ASRM) online. Specifically it seeks to address the following questions:

What ASRM is being taught online;

How is ASRM being taught?

What are the challenges to teaching and learning ASRM online and how are these navigated?

What is the role of eLearning technology in the teaching and learning of ASRM online?

The research forms part of an ESRC-funded project that explored the pedagogy of methodological learning by better understanding the pedagogical demands of teaching advanced social science research methods, exploring

  •  features of specialist pedagogical content knowledge (Shulman, 1986) associated with advanced social science research methods
  •  aspects of innovation in teaching and learning approaches
  •  the relationships between concepts, skills, epistemological position and outcomes
  •  how those with advanced methodological skill communicate their knowledge of methods in ways that allows others to make sense of this knowledge and use it

The research aims to contribute to the building of ASRM pedagogic culture.

This research forms part of the ESRC NCRM research work package 5 on the Pedagogy of Methodological Learning and is funded by the ESRC.

PhD supervisors
Professor Melanie Nind, Dr Sarah Lewthwaite, Dr John Woollard

Research group

Social Justice and Inclusive Education (SJIE) Research Centre

Affiliate research groups

NatCen Social Research , International working group on Questionnaire Evaluation Standards (QUEST)

Ms Debbie Collins
Southampton Education School University of Southampton Building 32 Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom
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