Introduction to Quantitative Methods for Media and Communications

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Mr Patrick Sturgis COL.8.05


This course is available on the MPhil/PhD in Data, Networks and Society, MPhil/PhD in Media and Communications, MSc in Gender, Media and Culture, MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and Fudan), MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and UCT), MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and USC), MSc in Media and Communications, MSc in Media and Communications (Data and Society), MSc in Media and Communications (Media and Communications Governance), MSc in Media and Communications (Research), MSc in Media, Communication and Development, MSc in Politics and Communication and MSc in Strategic Communications. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

An intensive introduction to quantitative data analysis in the social sciences, with illustrative examples and class exercises drawn from the field of Media and Communications. The course is intended for students with no previous experience of quantitative methods or statistics. It covers the foundations of descriptive statistics and statistical estimation and inference. At the end of the course students should be able to carry out univariate and bivariate data analysis and have an appreciation of multiple linear regression. The computer classes give 'hands-on' training in the application of statistical techniques to real social science research problems using the SPSS computer package (no prior knowledge of SPSS is necessary).


20 hours of lectures and 9 hours of computer workshops in the MT. 2 hours of lectures in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 9 exercises in the MT.

Exercises from the weekly computer classes can be submitted for feedback.

Indicative reading

A course pack will be available for download online.

Additional reading: many introductory statistics books are available. But we particularly recommend Alan Agresti and Christine Franklin (2009) Statistics: The Art and Science of Learning from Data, and Alan Agresti and Barbara Finlay (2009, 4th edition) Statistical Methods for the Social Sciences.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the January exam period.

You are allowed to bring to the examination one A4 sheet (both sides) of your own notes.

Key facts

Department: Methodology

Total students 2018/19: 5

Average class size 2018/19: 3

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Non-credit bearing

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills