Enhancing teaching in reproducing data analysis

Senior Lecturer Dr Aneta Piekut has been awarded a prestigious Fellowship by Project TIER to enhance the teaching of replicability in the training of social scientists.

Students round a computer
Dr Aneta Piekut teaching students in the Sheffield Methods Institute

Dr Aneta Piekut, Senior Lecturer in Quantitative Social Sciences at the Sheffield Methods Institute has been awarded a prestigious Fellowship by Project TIER, located at the Haverford College (Pennsylvania, USA).

Project TIER (Teaching Integrity in Empirical Research) promotes the integration of principles and practices related to transparency and replicability in the research training of social scientists. The initiative is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The Fellowships are awarded to lecturers who incorporate transparency and reproducibility in their teaching and are willing to promote training in robust and transparent quantitative social sciences.

Aneta teaches reproducibility in her level 2 module in the SMI undergraduate degree BSc Quantitative Social Sciences (QSS). She explains:

“The Fellowship fits perfectly with my pedagogical interests and what I do in my level 2 ‘replication module’ for SMI students. Students select an academic paper with applied quantitative methods and I teach them how to reproduce steps of data analysis. This approach allows students to appreciate the principles of open science, practice applying quantitative methods through following ‘footsteps’ of more senior scholars, and master their data coding skills in R”.

As a 2020-21 Fellow Aneta will participate in a number of curriculum development and outreach activities. Together with the Sheffield Reproducibility Network, which is a part of the UK Reproducibility Network, she plans to organise an event in Sheffield bringing together lecturers who teach reproducibility.  

The Fellowship is timely for the university as a whole, says, Dr Tom Stafford, the University Practice Lead:

“A TIER Fellowship will increase the disciplinary reach of reproducibility practice at Sheffield. Aneta’s position in the Sheffield Methods Institute means she will be in a good position to bring in interested parties from across the Social Sciences. Her existing engagement with reproducibility activities shows she has an established ability to make links across disciplines.”

Between March and May 2021, Project TIER Fellow Aneta and the SMI co-organised the 2021 TIER Spring Symposium - a ten-part virtual event exploring the educational purposes of teaching students transparent and reproducible methods of quantitative data analysis. Recordings of the keynote presentations are now available to view.

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