NEWS3 December 2009

Teaching of quant methods ‘lacking’ at UK universities

News UK

UK— A lack of tuition in quantitative methods threatens to hold back the social sciences in the UK, according to a new study.

Times Higher Education quotes a draft report to the Economic and Social Research Council by Professor John Macinnes of the University of Edinburgh, who argues that quantitative research methods need to be more widely and effectively taught at undergraduate level as part of courses in numerous disciplines – not just maths and science.

Macinnes found that teaching of quantitative methods was lacking in the majority of the university social science departments that he surveyed.

Many departments rely on just a few members of staff for quant teaching, and students receive an average of just 12 hours’ teaching in quant methods over a three-year course.

Quantitative approaches were being allowed to “wither”, he said, leading to a declining focus on the analysis of empirical evidence. Among his recommendations to address the problem is the introduction of a standalone qualification in quantitative methods.