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DEGREE REGULATIONS & PROGRAMMES OF STUDY 2021/2022

Information in the Degree Programme Tables may still be subject to change in response to Covid-19

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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : School (School of Social and Political Studies)

Undergraduate Course: Multi-Level Modelling in Social Science (SSPS10024)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course enables students to understand and use multilevel models mainly in the context of social science, but examples are also given from medicine and some aspects of biological science. The focus is on multilevel models for quantitative, binary and multinomial outcomes, with shorter sessions on models for ordinal and count outcomes. The importance of multilevel modelling for longitudinal data is explained. Analysis is illustrated using the package MLwiN (dedicated to multilevel modelling and available free to academics and university students). Lectures are combined with practical sessions in order to reinforce concepts.

Course description Multilevel models are becoming an increasingly popular method of analysis in many areas of social science, medicine and natural science, and there are many situations where an improved analysis is obtained compared to conventional methods such as analysis of variance or multiple regression. Potential advantages include:
- the scope for wider inference: for example in a study of school attainment, results can be related to a population of schools rather than just those assessed;
- more appropriate mean estimates, when the effect of spurious outlying results for small groups are reduced;
- a more efficient analysis with smaller standard errors, particularly when there are few observations per group;
- avoidance of problems caused by missing outcomes: this is an advantage in longitudinal studies (for example panel studies) where there are often dropouts;
- use of more appropriate variances and correlations: for example in a longitudinal analysis the correlation between observations on the same person may become less for measurements that are further apart in time.

The course enables you to understand and use multilevel models mainly in the context of social science, but examples are also given from medicine and some aspects of biological science. The focus is on multilevel models for quantitative, binary and multinomial outcomes, with further sessions on models for ordinal and count outcomes. The importance of multilevel modelling for longitudinal data is explained. Analysis is illustrated using the package MLwiN (dedicated to multilevel modelling and available free to academics and university students).

Conceptual introduction to multi-level models.
Introducion to the software MLwiN.
Models with two levels.
Random slopes models/
Longitudinal models.
Models for binary and binomial data (1).
Models for binary and binomial data (2).
Models for multinomial data.
Models for ordinal data.
Models for multivariate outcomes.

Most of your learning will be in practical work. At each of the weekly practical sessions, two teachers will be available for consultation.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Statistical Modelling (SSPS10027)
Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Multi-Level Modelling in Social Science (PGSP11424)
Other requirements For those students who are required to take a Quantitative Methods course as part of their degree programme, this course can be counted towards that condition.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesNone
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  20
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) A guided exercise around week 6 of the course worth 25% of the course grade. This assignment will involve students running, reporting and briefly interpreting a set of multilevel models which will use a continuous outcome. Models covered will include variance component, random intercept and random slope.

An end-of-course practical project, worth 75% of the total marks for the course. Students will be given a choice of one of three data sets to analyse, and some questions about each of them. The main focus of the project will be on social scientific questions which will have to be answered using multilevel models. The dependent variables in these projects will offer more challenge (than the mid-semester assignment) by being be non-normal (for example, categorical or count) additionally longitudinal or multivariate outcomes might be used.
Feedback There will be a formative assessment early in the course using single level regression. This will give students a chance to check their familiarity with relevant statistical software, and to get early feedback on the presentation of statistical results.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. describe the conceptual and mathematical basis of multilevel models.
  2. estimate multilevel models in an appropriate software package.
  3. to cast scientific questions in multilevel terms.
  4. to interpret and communicate the results of multilevel models clearly.
Reading List
None
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Developing advanced quantitative skills and the capacity to use them in applied scientific context.
KeywordsMulti-level modelling; regression; longitudinal data.
Contacts
Course organiserDr Alan Marshall
Tel: (0131 6)51 1462
Email: Alan.Marshall@ed.ac.uk
Course secretaryMr Daniel Jackson
Tel: (0131 6)50 8253
Email: Daniel.Jackson@ed.ac.uk
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