SE DTC Advanced Training 2014

Lead Research Organisation: University of Surrey
Department Name: Psychology


Real World Eye Tracking: The power of eye tracking to measure exactly where people are looking in realistic social situations makes it an ideal tool for studying many research questions in social science, such as the link between product viewing and purchase, or which part of a conversation captures our attention. This course will provide advanced hands-on training and relevant problem solving. It is also unique in providing a comparison across several systems based on suitability to research questions. Participants will learn to use and analyse the complex data from desk mounted eye trackers for viewing real-life scenes and wearable eye trackers for interacting in social situations outside of the lab.

Application of Multilevel Analysis for Quantitative Social Science: The proposed course will focus primarily on the applications of multilevel modelling for hierarchically clustered data used in quantitative social science research. It will provide an overview of the theoretical and practical applications of linear multilevel models with random intercept and random slopes for data that is nested or structured within two-levels (e.g. individuals within schools) and three-levels (e.g. individuals in classes within schools), and two-level repeated measures designs (e.g. individuals with n observations). The course will be a mixture of lectures and practical parts, and will provide students with the opportunity to get expert feedback on their own data.

Agent-Based Modelling for the Social Scientist: Agent-based modelling is a relatively young methodology, increasingly important in academia and applied research. The course will be a step to producing genuine "computational social scientists", i.e. scientists who see the social world through modelling eyes, able to approach social research questions with computational methods without losing awareness of the complexities and particularities of the social world. The growing demand for agent-based modelling in a range of social sciences, demands researchers with an advanced skill set for tackling complex problems with realistic models. This course will provide the theoretical foundations as well as the practical skills for social science models, including programming a model from scratch and developing an agent based model within their own research topic.

Construct Measurement, Scale Development & Scale Validation: Proper measurement of constructs is of utmost significance in the behavioural and social sciences. A poorly conceived scale can lead to inaccurate results and inferences. This course will present a non-technical, practical overview of the principles and practices involved in scale construction, modification, use, evaluation and interpretation. Students will be exposed to relevant theoretical approaches, both classical and contemporary, guiding the development and evaluation of measurement scales. Specific topics concerning the development and evaluation of measures will be covered in detail.

Methods and Techniques for combined EEG-MRI Brain Registration for the Social Sciences: the Social Brain: The University of Reading through its Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN) has been at the forefront of the development of combined brain registration methods working with academic and commercial partners in developing and refining methods and technologies. This course will provide post-graduate students with a critical survey of the analytic approaches and provide advanced hands-on training in EEG/ERP, fMRI and combined EEG/fMRI techniques. Social Science applications will be built in to the training sessions and demonstration and training components will draw on existing social neuroscience data from emotional regulation, decision making and learning and memory paradigms. They will learn about practical issues involved in combining EEG/fMRI recordings and, in the hands on course, will acquire the competencies needed for using the techniques.

Planned Impact

Real World Eye Tracking:
Direct beneficiaries will be Acuity Intelligence (AI), who will be able to build on this course to develop a viable commercial product that will enhance UK competitiveness in the sector of eye tracking research technology. The many applied uses of eye tracking mean advances in using this technology could make it more directly useful for the development of product design and in marketing and web design, with benefit for these industries. AI will inform the course content based on their experience with industrial clients and in turn their advice to companies can be informed by the questions posed by social scientists. Future training of clinical psychologists may in the long run benefit mental health diagnosis.

Application of Multilevel Analysis for Quantitative Social Science:
The course will have a direct impact on the development and enhancement of participants' quantitative skills-sets, this will indirectly benefit the participants' core professional circle and expertise available at their host institution. The course will also directly develop participants' academic and core professional skills via interactions with interdisciplinary peers and the opportunity to informally present and get feedback on their own work. The course will contribute to capacity building of MLM methods and provide an interactive environment to allow participants to build interdisciplinary links.

Agent-Based Modelling for the Social Scientist:
The course will benefit students from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds spanning the social and natural sciences. It will train them in a cutting edge methodology, enabling them to integrate and use agent-based modelling with established quantitative and qualitative methods. The indirect impact will be much wider and go beyond academia. Many current PhD students will go into policy related jobs where agent-based modelling is gaining an ever greater importance. This course will equip students to use agent-based modelling to tackle complex real world problems and interpret solution spaces for policy makers to make more informed decisions than otherwise possible.

Construct Measurement, Scale Development and Scale Validation:
The proposed workshop will encourage interaction and sharing of knowledge/good practices among researchers across the social sciences. The direct beneficiaries can be identified as; i) current PhD students, ii) junior and experienced researchers in the UK and across Europe and iii) SE DTC. Through the RHUL Centre for Social Sciences, future generations of PhD students, new and early career researchers would benefit from iterations of the seminar and benefit from access to the enduring learning materials. Insights from the workshop will be integrated with research networks through conferences, journal publications and guest lectures.

Methods and Techniques for combined EEG-MRI Brain Registration for the Social Sciences: the Social Brain:
The training sessions will be delivered by University of Reading research staff with high level expertise in the relevant domains. The University of Reading's Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics will provide support via its NeuroHub online community that will allow students to share experiences and ask for support. Dr. Roesch (one of the workshop leaders) also manages a mailing list virtual community of over 400 researchers worldwide who use combined registration techniques. Our group is also about to launch an online wiki to gather and disseminate information about methods, safety issues, best practices and ongoing research. It is expected that at the end of this training session students will have sufficient knowledge to participate in this group and to plan combined registration projects of their own.


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