Methodology Seminar Series

Leading social scientists consider cutting-edge quantitative and qualitative methodologies, analyse the logic underpinning an array of approaches to empirical enquiry, and discuss the practicalities of carrying out research in a variety of different contexts.

Seminars are on Thursdays from 16:15- 17:45  and take place in COL 8.13 (Columbia House 8th Floor)- Please see here for a map of the LSE).

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If you would like further information on the seminars, please email

PhD students and staff across the LSE are welcome to attend.

Lent Term Seminars


Research and policy change: the case of cycling in London
Thursday 2nd March
Speaker: Dr Rachel Aldred, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, University of Westminster
Rachel will speak about how cycling policy in London was transformed following a sustained advocacy coalition that made its Mayor answerable for cycling deaths. After giving some context about the broader state of cycling and cycling policy across the UK, she will provide some insights on the change that took place in London, why it happened, and the role that research played within a coalition for change. This will include in particular a focus both on discourses of policy and advocacy, and the demographic inequalities in London cycling. Reflecting on the limits of this transformation and on current developments, she will conclude with suggestions for where London should go next, and what other parts of the UK can learn from London's story.



Mark Petticrew img_3495 (2)

Evidence-based public health and policy: the role of evaluation
Thursday 16th March
Speaker: Professor Mark Petticrew, Department of Social and Environmental Health Research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Public health research differs from clinical epidemiological research in that its focus is primarily on the population-level social and structural determinants of individual health, and on the interventions that might ameliorate them, rather than having a primary focus on individual-level risks. In particular public health is typically concerned with the proximal and distal causes of health problems, and their location within complex systems, more than with single exposures. This can make public health evaluations challenging. Even well-known epidemiological terms and concepts may have very different implications when used in the context of population health.

This talks will discuss what “evidence” means in relation to public health; what should be evaluated, and how; and what sort of evidence is needed for evidence-based public health. It will also discuss promising approaches to evaluating complex interventions and complex systems, using a range of public health examples including tobacco, food, and housing.


Please click here to see details of previous seminars...

Data Science Seminar Series

The new Social and Economic Data Science (SEDS) Research Unit, which is affiliated to the Department of Methodology is now running its own seminar series focusing on data science. These will also take place on Thursdays from 16:15 - 17:45 in COL 8.13. Forthcoming seminars are listed below:

Lent Term Seminars

The Case for Research Preregistration, with Applications in Elections Research
Thursday 23rd February 2017
Speaker: Professor Jamie Monogan, Department of Political Science, University of Georgia.
Preregistration refers to when an analyst commits to a research design before observing the outcome. How can preregistration be useful for political scientists? This presentation makes the
argument that, when appropriate, study registration increases honesty and transparency in research reporting in a way that benefits authors, reviewers, and readers. The essential element for preregistration to be useful is a clear public signal of the design before the data could possibly be observed, such as
before an experiment is conducted or before an election occurs. This presentation therefore offers illustrations of how to implement preregistration that focus on American elections. The three examples include: An analysis of the immigration issue in 2010 U.S. House of Representatives races, the effect of the 2011 debt ceiling controversy on the 2012 U.S. House elections, and a yet-to-be implemented design of how anxiety shaped individual voters' decision-making process in the 2016 U.S. presidential election

The STEM requirements of "non-STEM" jobs: evidence from UK online vacancy postings and implications for Skills & Knowledge Shortages
Date: Thursday 23rd March 2017
Speaker: Inna Grinis, PhD candidate in the Department of Economics, LSE

Do employers in “non-STEM” occupations (e.g. Graphic Designers, Economists) seek to hire STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) graduates with a higher probability than non-STEM ones for knowledge and skills that they have acquired through their STEM education (e.g. “Microsoft C#”, “Systems Engineering”) and not simply for their problem solving and analytical abilities? This is an important question in the UK where less than half of STEM graduates work in STEM occupations and where this apparent leakage from the “STEM pipeline” is often considered as a wastage of resources. To address it, this paper goes beyond the discrete divide of occupations into STEM vs. non-STEM and measures STEM requirements at the level of jobs by examining the universe of UK online vacancy postings between 2012 and 2016. We design and evaluate machine learning algorithms that classify thousands of keywords collected from job adverts and millions of vacancies into STEM and non-STEM. 35% of all STEM jobs belong to non-STEM occupations and 15% of all postings in non-STEM occupations are STEM. Moreover, STEM jobs are associated with higher wages within both STEM and non-STEM occupations, even after controlling for detailed occupations, education, experience requirements, employers, etc. Although our results indicate that the STEM pipeline breakdown may be less problematic than typically thought, we also find that many of the STEM requirements of “non-STEM” jobs could be acquired with STEM training that is less advanced than a full time STEM education. Hence, a more efficient way of satisfying the STEM demand in non-STEM occupations could be to teach more STEM in non-STEM disciplines. We develop a simple abstract framework to show how this education policy could help reduce STEM shortages in both STEM and non-STEM occupations.

Full paper available at