Data-driven research skills

We want social scientists at all career stages to have the skills and capacity to maximise the value of large and complex data that are available for research purposes. Social scientists should be equipped with both the technical skills and the robust conceptual and methodological understanding necessary to design and undertake data-driven research in efficient, reproducible, and methodologically responsible ways.
The skills that are required span qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods approaches.

To deliver this vision, we commissioned two pieces of work to scope the capacity-building needs in the social sciences to support data-driven research skills (DDRS):

  1. The first was an independent review by Technopolis focused on supporting DDRS training at the doctoral stage. This review was a source of evidence considered as part of our review of the PhD in social sciences, helping to shape both the vision and strategy for postgraduate training.
  2. The second was a review by an independent steering group examining DDRS needs at all career stages post-PhD. The group’s report presents its key findings and makes recommendations to create a future-proofed training and development ecosystem that builds individual capability and sector capacity within the UK.

ESRC response to the steering group’s report

The ESRC response sets out our vision for supporting social scientists’ DDRS and the actions we will be taking to tackle the issues identified by the steering group. In the response, we identify actions that can be addressed in the near-term by ESRC. We also signal our intention to work with other stakeholders in the longer-term to promote DDRS, enabling UK social science to retain its world-class reputation.

In the near term, we will now develop a more detailed implementation plan to:

  • refine and promote ESRC’s expectations for DDRS
  • map and adapt our current DDRS training and capacity-building
  • implement a stakeholder engagement approach that supports the ongoing delivery of work in this area

Last updated: 31 October 2023

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