National Centre for Research Methods
Established in 2004, the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) provides a strategic focal point for the identification, development and delivery of an integrated national research and training and capacity building programme, aimed at promoting a step change in the quality and range of methodological skills and techniques used by the UK social science community, and providing support for, and dissemination of, methodological innovation and excellence within the UK.
The NCRM’s key objectives are:
- To advance methodological understanding and practice. This involves the design and implementation of a research agenda that will facilitate methodological innovation in quantitative and qualitative research and the cross-fertilisation of these approaches.
- To enhance the UK international profile in methodological excellence and to ensure that the UK is at the forefront of international developments in social research methodology.
- To enable members of the UK social science research community to learn about recent developments in research methods and current 'best practice' and to acquire the capacity to use these methods effectively in their research. This will involve engaging directly with researchers, but also adding value to other infrastructure designed to support researchers by training those who themselves have a training function or responsibility within their own organisational context.
- To undertake research and training activities relevant to research users and of benefit to the economy and society.
- To play a strategic role in the promotion of high quality research methodology that involves the many inter-agency initiatives, including but not limited to those funded by the ESRC.
The NCRM consists of a coordinating Hub at the University of Southampton, with a series of sub-centres or ‘nodes’, distributed across a number of sites (see below). The nodes focus on the development of leading edge research methods within the context of substantive research problems and also make a major contribution to the NCRM training and capacity building activities.
NCRM's research programme
The NCRM aims to stimulate new developments in both quantitative and qualitative research methods and seeks to provide innovative methodological insights and solutions to substantive research problems within a rapidly changing landscape. Therefore the NCRM needs to be responsive to emerging needs and opportunities and genuinely novel methodological challenges. The research programme is based upon the following kinds of projects:
- Research projects focus on innovative methodological development within the context of substantive research problems
- Networks for Methodological Innovation (NMI) aim to stimulate debate on new methodological challenges and review developments within specific methodological fields. NMIs are commissioned by the Hub
- Methodological reviews are commissioned to cover a range of topics including syntheses of literature in relation to methodological issues, descriptions of innovative approaches and discussions of methodological challenges
- Evaluations, assessments and consultations on the research and training needs of the social science community.
NCRM's training and capacity building (TCB) programme
The NCRM supports the social science research community by running methods-focussed training and events and by facilitating access to training and maintaining online resources through the ReStore project. The Courses in Applied Social Surveys (CASS) programme also forms part of the NCRM programme of training courses. The NCRM maintains an online training and events database that contains information about research methods training and other events. The NCRM also awards training bursaries for staff and contract researches in UK higher education institutions who wish to develop their research methods skills.
NCRM’s TCB programme has two broad aims:
- Upgrading the quality and range of the methodological skills-base across the social science research community
- Facilitating the diffusion of cutting-edge methodological expertise to social scientists at all stages of their careers.
The ESRC Research Methods Festival is the NCRM's flagship event. It is organised biennilly and is particularly important for promoting interest in research methods and opportunities for further training. The Festival brings together people from different sectors, methodological traditions, and disciplines who do not normally meet around a research methods-related agenda.
You can search for upcoming research methods training courses and events on the NCRM website.
You can also view details all of the NCRM nodes for Phases I, II and III.
- ESRC National Centre for Research Methods
School of Social Sciences
University of Southampton
Southampton SO17 1BJ
Telephone: +44 (0)23 8059 4539
Fax: +44 (0)23 8059 8908
- Twitter: @NCRMUK
- Claire Feary, ESRC
Telephone: 01793 442862
For further details visit the NCRM website.