Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates For the latest information and advice see: Coronavirus (COVID-19) frequently asked questions
Sgoil Cheumnaichean Saidheans Sòisealta na h-Alba

Summer School 2020

The Summer School will be hosted on Social – a new online platform from SGSSS that aims to facilitate and encourage communication, collaboration, and cohort building among social science researchers in Scotland. Social will enable you to network with other PhD students during the event and stay connected afterwards.

We appreciate that the timing of the Summer School may not be ideal for everyone. A repository of pre-recorded training is now available on Social and will be added to during the Summer School. We would encourage you to register for the platform, even if you are not able to attend the event, so you can gain access to these resources. 

Please read the FAQs and review the workshop descriptions below before registering.

We look forward to welcoming you in June!

Q1. Can I participate in the Summer School?

Any social science PhD student studying at one of our partner institutions is eligible to participate in the SGSSS Summer School. Places are available on a first-come first-served basis. You can find a list of SGSSS partner institutions here.

Q2. What is Social and how do I use it?

Social is a new online networking platform from SGSSS. Once you have created an account you will have access to an online space where you to create a profile,  connect with other researchers, join and create groups, post and read blogs, and register for and attend training. Once you have registered ( head over to the Getting Started forum for guidance on how to find your way around.

Q3. How do I access the online sessions?
After you successfully register for Social, you will be able to join the Summer School 2020 group. Once the sessions are available for registration you will be notified via the group. Each workshop will have its own private page and the links to the Collaborate sessions and any other relevant material will be posted here prior to the training.

Q4. What video conferencing tool will be used?
All sessions will be hosted through Collaborate Ultra. To find out more about Collaborate and how to use it, please visit We would advise you to launch Collaborate on Google Chrome as it works best on this browser. If you do not have Google Chrome installed on your computer, please download it here:

When joining a session make sure to turn off your audio and video until told to do otherwise by the workshop lead. If you would like to ask a question or contribute to the discussion during the workshop, please use the raise hand or chat functions.

Q5. How do I access the online-repository mentioned on the Summer School webpage?

The repository of training materials is available on Social, here.

Q6. Who do I contact if I have technical issues?
If you have any technical issues during the Summer School, please email the SGSSS Team ( who will be on hand to answer your questions throughout the event.  

Q7. What support will be provided during the Summer School?

We are keen to ensure that all students are supported during the Summer School. If you have any additional support needs, please disclose them when registering for the events so we can ensure the right support is provided. If you would like to discuss the suitability of the sessions before registering, please contact

Q8. When will I receive the pre-recorded materials for the live Q&A sessions?

The pre-recorded materials will be shared with you on the 4th of June via the event group on Social. You will receive an email notification when the materials are available to view.

Q9. Will there be any social events/networking opportunities?
Definitely! We will be hosting a quiz on Wednesday 10th of June from 6pm. Prizes will be up for grabs so make sure to register for the event on Social from the 20th of May.

There will also be a number of discussion boards set up within the Summer School group. We would encourage you to engage with these and pose topics for discussion.

Q10. Will I receive a certificate of attendance?

Due to the number of students attending a wide range of workshops, it will not be possible to provide attendance certificates.

If you have any other questions, please email

How to register

Sign up to Social

Create an account on Social to gain access to the Summer School. If you already have a Social account login here.

Join the Summer School Group

Within Social, click the Groups tab on the menu bar and join the Summer School 2020 group. All future communications will come via this group.

View the schedule of events

Review the schedule and workshop descriptions below before the events open for registration on the 20th May 2020 at 12 noon.

Learn how to use the online tools

Make sure to familiarise yourself with the following online tools prior to the Summer School.

Social – The social networking site that will allow you to register for workshops, join groups, receive links and materials, and interact with fellow Summer School attendees. 

Collaborate – The video conferencing platform that will host all Summer School workshops. If your institution does not use Collaborate, please review the guidance below. 

Book your workshops

The events will open for registration on the 20th May 2020 at 12 noon.  Full information on how to register for each event is now available in the Summer School Group on Social.

Registrations will close on the 3rd June 2020 at 12 noon.

Tuesday 9th of June

Tuesday, 9th of June, 10am - 5pm
Sergiu Gherghina (University of Glasgow)

Research design is a core component of every good research paper, irrespective of its theoretical approach or type of empirical evidence (quantitative or qualitative) to be collected and analysed. Its importance derives from its features: provides a structure to the analysis, makes data collection systematic, guides readers through the logic of the research enterprise, and increases the reliability and transparency of the research endeavour. This course aims at providing an overview of available types of research design for empirical studies in social sciences so that students can make an informed decision about what matches best their theoretical approach and methodological needs. By using a hands-on approach, the course will show how theories can be tested through different research designs with different types of data, will investigate the implications and suitability of research designs, and will reveal how these designs can be best presented to broader audiences.

At the end of this course, students will be able: to compare and contrast the advantages and limitations of different research designs, to identify and understand how different methods of data-gathering and analysis (qualitative, quantitative or mixed-methods) match various theoretical frameworks, to demonstrate the application of ethical guidelines in planning the design of an empirical study, and to develop the ability to present their research designs in papers and presentations. In addition to using examples from across the social science disciplines to illustrate the usefulness of research designs, participants will also have the possibility to discuss specific problems that they encountered in their research with issues related to design.

Please note that this course is designed for first year PhD students who have not started collecting data for analysis. 

Tuesday, 9th of June, 10am - 12pm
Professor Matthew Flinders (University of Sheffield)

Are you a hedgehog or a fox? Does the idea of becoming a 'hedge-fox' sound at all attractive? What do you understand by these terms and how might they actually define the type of academic you want to be or the nature of your professional career, within and beyond academe?

In this workshop Professor Matthew Flinders (University of Sheffield and ESRC Council) draws-upon the findings of his recently completed national review on the topic of research leadership in order to highlight the changing nature of academe and the existence of a major skills-gap.

This is not intended to be a conventional workshop and the topics that will be discussed underline this point - from a focus on 'docking points' and 'the art of translation' through to an awareness of why 'mobility matters' and the benefits of 'trespassing' or 'triple-writing' or 'braided careers' - the aim is to cultivate an opportunity for participants to think about how they might best position themselves in order to flourish in a rapidly changing social context.

The aim is simply to promote discussion and understanding about the changing nature of an academic career and the existence of both challenges and opportunities. The workshop will be of value to all students irrespective of whether they are thinking about a future career within or beyond academe (or possibly trying to combine the two).

Prof. Flinders' national review will have been published by the ESRC/UKRI before this event takes place and will provide the required pre-reading and focus for the session.

Tuesday, 9th of June, 10am - 1pm
Dr Emma Forbes (University of Glasgow (alumni))

The purpose of this workshop is to encourage students to think of ethics as a continuum in their research project: it is not a set of questions to answer for a form at the outset, but a moral compass for the whole project and beyond.  This workshop will provide students with a toolkit to tackle the ethics of researching potentially vulnerable groups on sensitive topics and highlights key considerations. However, it goes beyond obtaining ethical approval and shows students why they have a duty to refer to their ethical position throughout the research; questioning and adjusting as they go.  A case study will provide some insight into potential ethical considerations, including how to navigate insider research.  This workshop will provide practical case studies and encourage group participation to work through some of the nuances of being ethically-minded throughout your research and beyond.  Using a collaborative community art project as an example (, it will consider the ethics of research impact and how to disseminate research findings in an ethically appropriate way. 

Tuesday, 9th of June, 10am - 11:30am
Professor Niamh Shortt (University of Edinburgh)

Pre-recorded workshop with live Q&A

This workshop will help you to explore how your research can make an impact outside of academia. A pre-recorded seminar will explore what impact is, how it relates to REF and why you might want to engage with the impact agenda. We will also critique the ways in which impact is measured and what is understood as impact within REF. There will be some work to do in advance of the session that will allow you to draft a pathways to impact document. In the online Q&A session we can discuss these pathways and explore evidence collection and measures of success.

Tuesday, 9th of June, 2pm - 5pm
Dr Michelle Elliot and Dr Giorgos Tsiris (Queen Margaret University)

Reflexivity is a widely used - perhaps overused - term in research. Although social scientists would consider reflexivity to be a cornerstone of research, it seems that people's diverse understandings (and misunderstandings) of and engagements with the term may lead to its misuse and superficial applications in everyday research designs and practices.

Adopting a pragmatic stance, this workshop revisits not only whether reflexivity matters, but also why it matters and how a reflexive approach is adopted.

Drawing from their respective ethnographic research experiences in music therapy and occupational science, the presenters will introduce interdisciplinary perspectives and meanings of reflexivity. Practical applications and implications throughout the research process will be discussed. In small groups, participants will be invited to explore reflexivity in relation to their own work, at different phases: research design, implementation, analysis and dissemination. Ethical considerations and dilemmas will be examined and the place of reflexivity in assessing research quality will be discussed.

This workshop is appropriate for students at all stages of their research process and is open to anyone interested in understanding how reflexivity can practically inform and critically shape their research practice.

Tuesday, 9th of June, 2pm - 5pm
Siew Lee (Robert Gordon University)

This session will provide health and social science doctoral students with skills to plan, develop and conduct a systematic or integrative review.

Tuesday, 9th of June, 2pm - 5pm
Michelle Jamieson (University of Glasgow)

A gentle and visual introduction to R. including: working within R, reading in data, scraping data from the internet and how to visualise your data

Wednesday 10th of June

Wednesday, 10th of June, 10am - 1pm
Dr Jo Ferrie (University of Glasgow and SGSSS) and Sharon Greenwood (University of Glasgow)

This workshop will examine how qualitative researchers USE emotion, rather than a focus on what emotion ‘is’. Qualitative data (as sometimes with quantitative) is a social engagement that requires emotional energy to produce it, in terms of building rapport for example. Further it produces emotional energy as the research empathetically absorbs the data produced. Traditionally this is distilled to produce discursive evidence, but this sterilising of social data leaves emotion as outside of forms of data recognised as 'credible' (Fine, 1994). This workshop will consider the value of including emotional data, and considers ways of managing this. It considers the 'burden' on researchers who 'feel' the emotional pressure of collecting data. The workshop aims to train students in resilience and developing as ‘emotion managers’. At once this workshop explores opportunities to communicate the emotional properties of data to an academic audience (e.g. drawing on Camacho, 2016); but also, to manage the psychological impact of 'emotional data' on the researcher (drawing on Hume, 2007). This paper draws on our work researching the lived experience of adults with a life-limiting condition (Ferrie et al, 2013) and upon experiences teaching early career researchers about managing the emotional elements of their work. It will not focus explicitly on emotions and remote working (a response to C-19) but will draw in examples of resilience where possible.

Wednesday, 10th of June, 10am - 1pm
Dr Niccole Pamphilis (University of Glasgow)

This course will introduce students to the logic and application of time-series analysis, as well as the necessary data structure for time-series analysis.  Students will look at situations where time needs to be accounted for in their models; how to determine the appropriate structure of time (i.e., shocks versus memory); and introduce how to control for time in their models.  Statistical software covered will include SPSS; R; and Stata, but a basic understanding of at least one of the programs is necessary.

Participants will need to have their chosen software installed and ready to use on their computer before the session. 

Wednesday, 10th of June, 10am - 11:30am
Professor Jamie Pearce (University of Edinburgh and SGSSS)

Pre-recorded workshop with live Q&A

In this Q&A session there will be an opportunity to address any questions you may have about getting your academic work published. We can share our collective experiences of publishing, reviewing and editing, reflecting on ‘good’ and bad’ practices, and think through strategies for transforming PhD work into a format for academic journals. We’ll also talk about the role of the different actors involved in the publishing processes including the author, reviewer, editor and publisher. In advance of the session there will be a recorded resource which will be used to outline some of the key issues and help support our Q&A session.

Wednesday, 10th of June, 2pm - 5pm
Dr Richard Brunner, Dr David Blane and Dr Cindy Gray (University of Glasgow)

This half-day workshop provides an introduction to critical realism and realist evaluation and synthesis theory and methods. The realist approach is important because it takes us beyond assuming that what we can see and measure is what actually exists, and can help us avoid reductionism in interpreting our research findings. It also allows us to interrogate and better understand the role of complexity in policy, organisational and individual-level interventions. Workshop participants will get an overview of the underlying principles of critical realism and realist evaluation and be given an opportunity to consider and work through applied examples. No prior knowledge or experience is needed to attend this workshop.

Wednesday, 10th of June, 2pm - 5pm
Dr Simon Gallacher (Nuffield Foundation)

This will be an informative and hopefully useful and interactive session looking at what funders are, how they operate and more.

Wednesday, 10th of June, 2pm - 5pm
Nick Bibby (Scottish Policy & Research Exchange)

How can my research be picked up by policymakers? How do governments and parliaments use research? Can I engage with policy without being 'political'? Does government hire PhD students? Is government interested in qualitative research? Are there policy internships? If you have asked any of these questions - or others - about creating an impact in the world of public policy, then this session is for you. It will provide a quick overview of policymaking institutions in Scotland, how they use research, and how academics - including doctoral candidates - can get involved in the policy world. For many social scientists, policy is the obvious field in which their research can have an impact. This session will provide an outline of how to get started and suggest some tools to help increase the visibility and usability of your research. Nick Bibby, is director of the Scottish Policy & Research Exchange (SPRE), which works with all of Scotland's higher education institutions, as well as the Scottish Government and Parliament to help researchers and policymakers work with each other more effectively.

Wednesday, 10th of June, 2pm - 5pm
Diane Gill (SGSSS) and Dr Sharon Maguire (Postgraduate Careers Consultant, University of Edinburgh)

This session is for anyone who sometimes finds it difficult to keep on track with their PhD. 

You will have the opportunity to try out a number of tools, which we hope will help you feel empowered; gain personal insights; and, address some of the challenges that may be blocking progress in your PhD. The session will have interactive and individual elements – as well as reflective exercises, you will have the opportunity to experience an action learning set, where you gain and receive support from other participants.  We’ll also touch on some of the theoretical models underpinning the different exercises and share examples of how we have seen the techniques used in practice.  

The goal is that you leave the session having identified what motivates you as well as what triggers procrastination in your PhD work. We hope you will gain some useful tools and techniques that you can take forward to use in everyday life as part of your own personal toolkit for success! 

Thursday 11th of June

Thursday, 11th of June, 10am - 1pm
Dr Bernhard Reinsberg (University of Glasgow)

This training course provides doctoral students with the necessary methodological tools for structural equation modelling (SEM). The course will be at an introductory level but offers advanced topics toward the end.

The course will first provide an overview of key terms and potential applications of SEMs, before covering basic statistical principles and necessary steps to prepare data for SEM analysis. We will study two applications of SEMs in particular: confirmatory factor analysis and structural regression models. While the former focus on measurement (for example in political psychology), the latter also aim at explanations involving causal paths and as such have wide applicability in political science.

Students are encouraged to bring their own data to the session to complement the examples given. We will use the programming language R, specifically the lavaan package. At the end of this course, students will be able to undertake basic SEM analysis to answer their own project research questions.

Please ensure that you are familiar with quantitative methods as these will not be reviewed in detail.

Thursday, 11th of June, 10am - 1pm
Claire Pembleton (Edinburgh Innovations/ University of Edinburgh) and Dr Anna-Marie Linell (SGSSS)

Do you want to explore working with external organisations and industry but are not sure how to get started?

In this workshop, you will:

  • Understand the industrial strategy
  • Discuss challenges and benefits of engaging with industry as PhD researchers
  • Identify the needs of businesses in case studies
  • Articulate the skills of researchers in case studies
  • Practise communicating your research skills and knowledge effectively to external organisations/industry

Thursday, 11th of June, 10am - 1pm
Professor Melanie Simms (University of Glasgow)


In this session we will look at the opportunities and challenges presented to academics through the use of social media in their doctoral studies and beyond. The session will focus particularly on Twitter which has emerged as one of the most used social media platforms within the academic community, and will touch on other platforms including Facebook, TikTok, Instagram and ResearchGate. Participants may well want to bring their own experiences of other platforms to the wider discussion and this is encouraged. This is an opportunity to explore relatively risk-free ways of engaging with wider audiences, and some of the concerns and risks involved. No experience is required of using social media, although participants are encouraged - but not required - to share experiences, concerns and tips.

Thursday, 11th of June, 2pm - 5pm
Dr Raihana Ferdous (University of Glasgow) and Meghna Gupta (filmmaker)

This workshop focuses on the process of making research documentary and extending research horizon. It outlines the benefits of using visual methods and making a collaborative research documentary. It also sheds lights on risk and ethical consideration that are associated with visual representation.

Thursday, 11th of June, 2pm - 5pm
Dr Catherine Owen (University of Glasgow)

In this session, Catherine Owen will introduce the techniques and practice of modern ethnography with a candid look at how PhD candidates and early career researchers have navigated the difficulties of fieldwork and of writing-up. Using her own recently-completed ethnographic PhD as a starting-point, Catherine will consider the value that ethnographic techniques can bring to the study of organisations and of organisational phenomena such as strategy but also show how the conduct of ethnographic research can challenge every assumption about the nature of data, of validity, and of the relationship between the researcher and what is being researched. As well as an introduction to recent trends in ethnographic practice, this session offers the kinds of practical and honest advice that is so often missing from accounts of research in the field and from the processes of collating, interpreting, and presenting ethnographic materials in credible ways.

Thursday, 11th of June, 2pm - 3:30pm
Lynn Wilson (University of Glasgow)

Pre-recorded workshop with live Q&A

This session will address conducting academic research in industry and policy settings. It is intended to offer key guidance and advice about approaching industry and policy about conducting research in order to get the attention of key decision makers who will be approve or decline your research request in the first place. From there it will explore initial meetings and how to prepare for and conduct early meetings in business and industry settings to get the best out of the research experience. This is a live Q&A session that follows a pre-recorded session that will be made available well in advance of the Q&A.

Thursday, 11th of June, 3:30pm - 5pm
Dr Lito Tsitsou (University of Glasgow)

Blog with live Q&A

This session will address any questions or issues you would like to share regarding imposterism. We can interrogate together feelings of alienation and inadequacy, reflect on the academic environment and discuss strategies for research/doctoral students. A key resource will be made available on Social prior to the session, which will be used as springboard for discussion.  

Wednesday AM
Statistical Network Analysis with R

While classical statistical methods focus on the relationships between variables across individuals, network analysis looks at connections or relationships between observations. For example, if you wanted to model “follows” between accounts on Twitter or friendships on Facebook, you need network analysis; if you wanted to model the connections between corporations, network analysis again; as for wars between countries, you guessed it – network analysis. Anytime you are interested in relationships, connections, dependencies between individuals or actors, traditional methods, which work on the assumptions of conditional independence, won’t cut it. So we turn to statistical analysis of networks. This session will motivate the ideas behind these methods and introduce the summary statistics and models that correspond to those in regular statistics using packages in the statistical software language R. A number of fun examples will allow participants to build and explore networks themselves.

Wednesday PM
The use of poetry by social scientists and in social science

This session will take a workshop format to do three things: i) to explore poetry as a way of gathering data and how such data contrast with interview and observational data;ii) to discuss the use of poetry as an analysis method, using the method of narrative poetry or found poetry to convey points through poetic delivery; iii) to examine how poems sit alongside other forms of social science writing, taking the work of Ann Oakley as an example of a social scientist experimenting with different ways of communicating ideas. The session will consider issues of reflexivity and meaning throughout and connections will be made to the wider literature on poetry in social science.

The session will be run by Dr Maggie Laidlaw, Dr Duduzile Ndlovu and Professor Graham Crow.

Realising the talents of Human and Artificial Intelligence

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are increasingly giving machines the ability to perform tasks traditionally performed by humans. However, consideration of the different capabilities of humans and machines leads to the view that, for a range of scenarios, human-AI teams could provide optimal performance. In this course we will first review recent developments in AI that have been driving advances and discuss inherent technical limitations. Next, we will explore social issues including how the concept of trust plays a role in the performance of human-AI teams. Finally, we will examine case studies from our collaboration with the company Qumodo of ways in which AI can be used to advance image-based forensic investigations.

Thursday AM
Business Booster: Engaging with Industry

A training programme designed for social science PhD students to build skills and confidence for working with and engaging industry.

We will define and think how you can develop skills and expertise you can offer to companies in this workshop, run by Edinburgh Innovations, the commercialisation team for the University of Edinburgh.


  • Get an overview of business needs and challenges which academia can support
  • Scope potential companies or sectors of industry that might be interested in you
  • Practice communicating your research, knowledge efficiently and effectively to the business world, for job interviews, professional social media and seeking commercial research and consultancy opportunities

We will:

  • consider case studies of academic engagement in social sciences
  • work through some activities to help you identify potential clients and collaborators
  • work in groups to create your own draft propositions for industry
  • practice delivering key messages to people outside of academia
Thursday PM
Interdisciplinary Round Table

The session will focus on what is interdisciplinary research, (with examples of their interdisciplinary work) and what are the challenges and opportunities for interdisciplinary working. Students will be able to quiz the panel on issues related to their own work and discuss topics such as ‘Which other discipline is the hardest to work with and why?’ and ‘Does interdisciplinary work ‘water down’ your subject identity?’ Student input will be highly valued and encouraged.

The speakers are:

Dr Michelle Bastian – Chancellor’s Fellow, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh –works in the areas of critical time studies and environmental humanities, describing it as ‘interdisciplinary conversations between philosophy, the social sciences and design’.

Prof Wendy Moncur – Interdisciplinary Chair of Digital Living, School of Art and Design, School of Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Dundee. Has an UKRI Digital Economy project on online trust

Dr Martyn Pickersgill – Wellcome Trust Reader in Social Studies of Biomedicine, Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences & Informatics, Edinburgh Medical School. Projects include ESRC/AHRC Biomedicine and Beyond: The Social and Regulatory Dimensions of Therapeutics in Japan and the UK

Ethnography for Business Studies

In this session, Catherine Owen will introduce the techniques and practice of modern ethnography with a candid look at how PhD candidates and early career researchers have navigated the difficulties of fieldwork and of writing-up. Using her own recently-completed ethnographic PhD as a starting-point, Catherine will consider the value that ethnographic techniques can bring to the study of organisations and of organisational phenomena such as strategy but also show how the conduct of ethnographic research can challenge every assumption about the nature of data, of validity, and of the relationship between the researcher and what is being researched. As well as an introduction to recent trends in ethnographic practice, this session offers the kinds of practical and honest advice that is so often missing from accounts of research in the field and from the processes of collating, interpreting, and presenting ethnographic materials in credible ways.

Multimodal Critical Discourse Analsysis

Multimodal critical discourse analysis (MCDA) is a theoretical and methodological framework in social sciences. MCDA works on the borderline between linguistics and other fields (sociology, history, media studies, anthropology, etc.) and provides an interdisciplinary viewpoint on the analysis of political rhetoric through texts of policy documents and political speeches and through other modes of political communication, such as visual expressions and music. The main issues of focus for MCDA are the relationships between language, power and ideology and revealing how inequalities may be perpetuated through semiotic practices.

Aims of the session:

  • The session introduces the most essential methodological approaches in critical discourse analysis, with the use of multimodal data.
  • Students will be able to carry out their own micro-analysis of data in several genres and modes of communication which are subjected to MCDA.

Wednesday AM

Wednesday PM

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Thursday PM