The Department of Methodology is an internationally recognized centre of excellence in research and teaching in the area of social science research methodology. The disciplinary backgrounds of the staff include political science, statistics, sociology, social psychology, anthropology and criminology. The Department coordinates and provides a focus for methodological activities at the School, in particular in the areas of graduate student (and staff) training and of methodological research. The Department is an interdisciplinary group and its primary role is to facilitate collaboration between departments and to provide courses where appropriate and provides methods training to students from across the School. It is also central to the LSE's Doctoral Training Partnership scheme.
The School-wide MSc Social Research Methods, drawing on teaching from nine departments, and accepting students specialising in many of the disciplines offered by the School, is the flagship of the Department's teaching efforts. The MPhil/PhD Social Research Methods attracts students who identify a substantive area of research and also demonstrate a particular methodological interest, aiming at a methodological development, for example in collecting innovative new data, new analytic techniques, method comparison, evaluation or validation, method critique, applying existing methodology in new contexts, or cost-benefit analysis of methodologies.
Through these two programmes, and the Department's provision of courses for research students from all parts of the School, the aim is to make the School the pre-eminent centre for methodological training in the social sciences.
The Department is also home to a number of funded research projects and faculty who publish in top journals from across the social sciences.
The Department of Methodology’s newest frontier is in data science. The forthcoming new MSc in Applied Social Data Science (commencing in September 2018) will train and provide students with core skills in data manipulation and analysis, computer programming, and research design for applications in data science, preparing them for a variety of careers in the private, non-profit and public sectors.
LSE has always been at the forefront of methodological development in the social sciences. With the training in the core social scientific tools of analysis and research offered by the Department of Methodology, coupled with its numerous workshops in other transferable skills such as computer programming and the use of methods-related software, the Department of Methodology ensures that the School’s students and staff have the expertise and training available to maintain the School’s excellence in social scientific research. We also work closely with colleagues in the Departments of Statistics and Mathematics to cover advanced topics, including in the interdisciplinary area of social applications of data science.