Data, Skills and Training

This research group focuses on developing a research agenda around data, skills, and training, with a particular emphasis on statistical and data literacy.

The group covers the following activities, all based at the Cathie Marsh Institute (CMI): CMI short courses, methods@manchester, National Centre for Research Methods, Q-Step, and UK Data Service user support and training.

Events and activities

Selected projects and grants

UK Data Service

The UK Data Service is a comprehensive resource funded by the ESRC to support researchers, teachers and policymakers who depend on high-quality social and economic data. Here you will find a single point of access to a wide range of secondary data including large-scale government surveys, international macro data, business microdata, qualitative studies and census data from 1971 to 2011. All are backed with extensive support, training and guidance to meet the needs of data users, owners and creators. The CMI team provide expertise on government surveys, census microdata, and user support and training.

Manchester Q-Step Centre

Q-Step is a £19.5 million programme designed to promote a step-change in quantitative social science training. The Manchester Q-Step Centre is undertaking a range of activities to support the development of quantitative skills on our undergraduate social science programmes. These include a range of new courses, dissertation support and a nationally recognised programme of summer internships. We place up to 50 students a year with a wide range of organisations, working on projects designed to develop and practice quantitative data skills in a real research setting.


In 2004 the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) set up the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) at the University of Southampton. NCRM was tasked to increase the quality and range of methodological approaches used by UK social scientists through a programme of training and capacity building, and with driving forward methodological development and innovation through its own research programme. From October 2014 the NCRM formed a partnership between The University of Edinburgh and The University of Manchester, both of which have international reputations in methodological research and training in the social sciences.


methods@manchester is an initiative that highlights Manchester's strength in research methods in the social sciences. We run ‘What is..?’ and ‘How to…?' events, a postgraduate Methods Fair every November, and a Summer School. We are increasingly engaging with external organisations who undertake data analysis.

CMI short courses

We run training courses, from 1-3 days, to support researchers and practitioners to undertake quantitative data analysis. More information can be found on our events pages.