School kids learn 'real time' polling for ESRC Festival of Social Sciences

The Sheffield Methods Institute, along with the Faculty of Social Sciences Outreach team took part in the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences holding an interactive workshop for college students using surveys and interpreting data, introducing quantitative methods to them in an engaging and entertaining way.

The students, aged 15-18 came from schools in the Sheffield City Region, took part in the workshop which aimed to show why conducting large, representative surveys is important for a better understanding of social attitudes, why conventional wisdom could be often misleading, and how to critically approach results of such quantitative studies.

During the event the groups learnt how ‘big survey data’ is produced and how to read and understand results of ‘real’ data coming from “Living with Difference” research project that was conducted at the University of Sheffield (2010-2014).

Aneta Piekut, Lecturer in Quantitative Methods, who ran the event said: "We used the latest interactive technology to enable the students to complete the survey, but we purposefully delayed showing them to the results so we could discuss different forms of prejudice and how that could affect some of the answers. Once the survey results were revealed the students were able reflect on why their answers were different from the real time responses.

"For most of the students this was their first experience of surveys and the interactive technology made for an entertaining workshop, and introduced quantitative concepts to a new generation of students. "

ESRC FEstival