SGSSS-DTC/Skills Development Scotland PhD +3/1+3 Studentship

Supporting the Key Influencers on Young People’s Career Development (commencing Autumn 2017)

The PhD research will explore who young people gain career advice and guidance from. Such advice can play an important, but overlooked, role in social mobility and occupational attainment. This study will explore the social networks of young people around careers guidance to understand more about how people are informed about their options and opportunities. This will include the role of family, friends, educational establishments, voluntary organisations and other potential sources of information. Analysis of large-scale secondary surveys containing such data (such as the Youth Cohort Student and Programme of International Student Assessment – PISA) will understand demographic differences in advice networks and produce a contextual framework for primary data collection.

Number of awards one award +3/1+3
Value PhD
Deadline Friday 16th June 2017 (5pm)

The PhD research will explore who young people gain career advice and guidance from. Such advice can play an important, but overlooked, role in social mobility and occupational attainment. This study will explore the social networks of young people around careers guidance to understand more about how people are informed about their options and opportunities. This will include the role of family, friends, educational establishments, voluntary organisations and other potential sources of information. Analysis of large-scale secondary surveys containing such data will understand demographic differences in advice networks and produce a contextual framework for primary data collection. Social network analysis data will be collected on the egonets surrounding around 150 young people, and 45 key informers, gathered from various settings such as schools, youth projects and sports teams. Participants provide details of how they utilise their networks and their access to information and other resources. Data will be analysed against demographic information, including gender, ethnicity and social stratification measures) to understand more about how young people, across a range of backgrounds, access information to informal their future career choices.

Background and research methods

Analyses of career guidance services have applied actor-network theory (ANT), which defines a social system and looks at the impacts of each function within that structure upon an outcome. Thus, when ANT is applied, the likely composition of the influential network is pre-defined and tested. Social network analysis (SNA) provides an alternative mechanism for exploring relationships, focusing more of the inter-relationship of actors than their contribution towards an integrated system. SNA has been widely applied to young people’s lives, most typically by examining a predefined population of actors and detailing the social connections within that community, rather than enabling analysis from outwith that social world.

Egonet analysis enables the social network around a specific actor to be explored. Thus, egonets can incorporate the full range of key informers named by an individual, capturing the social relationships and connected characteristics of that group to understand, from the respondents’ perspectives, the types of people who influence their career and educational decisions. Interviews and questionnaires will be conducted with 156 young people and 44 key informers in Central Scotland.

Project design will be informed by analysis of secondary datasets, including: Education and Youth Transitions (EYT) in England, Wales and Scotland; Youth Cohort Studies (England and Wales); and Programme of International Student Assessment.  These datasets focus on pupils in the last year of their compulsory education and include information about family background, immigration status, attitudes to school and learning, motivations, attainment and career orientation and guidance sources (e.g. whether career development skills are acquired through school or family and who they talk to about career choices). Through the analysis of social trends the secondary data analysis will inform a contextual framework for this study.

Subject specific training will be available to the student on a one-to-one basis with the supervisors and with other academics within the Faculty, and through their participation in internal and external subject-specific training events. These will include:

  • Training in undertaking social network analyses (including primary data collection of egonets)
  • Training in handling and processing secondary datasets
  • Software training to advanced practitioner level in relevant packages (e.g. UCINET, Stata, R)

External training events offer a particularly promising route to training development in this respect, since there are numerous high quality training programmes available across the University sector to which the student would be encourage to engage (e.g. NCRM short courses; training courses at SNA centres and conferences; ad hoc workshops within Scotland run by groups such as AQMeN, the Social Network Analysis in Scotland group and the Glasgow Quantitative Methods Group)

Generic training will be available primarily through the Stirling Graduate School and/or the Scottish Graduate School and will include:

  • presentation and critical engagement skills through postgraduate, research group and seminar series events;
  • writing for publication (through peer mentoring, specialist courses and writers retreats);
  • working with non-academic audiences through the Keyword seminar series;
  • general research training on themes such as project management, writing, and research ethics provided by the Stirling Graduate Research School.

In the later stages of their project, the student will be encouraged to disseminate their research at national and international meetings and to submit publications to peer review journals.

This is a fully-funded full-time studentship, financed by the ESRC and Skills Development Scotland. The full scholarship covers payment of course fees, maintenance stipend (£14,553 per annum), and research allowance. The studentship is available as a ‘1+3’ or as a ‘+3’ opportunity. The +3 route involves a 3-year research degree programme and requires that the candidate has an MSc qualification that meets ESRC training requirements. The ‘1+3’ route incorporates a one-year MSc programme (MSc Applied Social Research, or MSc Applied Social Research - Social Statistics and Social Research pathway), followed by a 3-year research degree programme.

The studentship will be is based in the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stirling and will commence in September/October 2017. This studentship will lead to a PhD in Sociology, from the University of Stirling. The successful applicant will be a member of the Faculty of Social Sciences and its Social Surveys and Social Statistics research group.

The supervisors of the project are Dr Dave Griffiths and Dr Marina Shapira. A further advisor, from Skills Development Scotland, will liaise regularly on the project.

The studentship is administered by the Scottish Graduate School for Social Sciences Doctoral Training Partnership (http://www.socsciscotland.ac.uk/), on behalf of its funders, the ESRC and Skills Development Scotland.

Read the full advert here.


Availability

one award +3/1+3


How to apply

Applications should include: a two-page covering letter; a full CV including the names of two referees (at least one referee should be an academic); a transcript/record of detailed grades achieved during previous university studies; and a short summary (maximum 500 words) explaining how they would approach the project’s research. The summary should refer to the project proposal and will be used to assess the applicant’s knowledge of the research field and of relevant methodological issues. The covering letter should demonstrate interest and capability of undertaking a PhD. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview in Stirling or via online methods.

Closing date: 16th June 2017. Interviews with shortlisted candidates will be arranged in person or virtually at dates to be confirmed in the near future after the application deadline. 

Applications should be sent, by post or email, to:

Jennifer Anderson

Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stirling

Stirling, FK9 4LA

socscirpg@stir.ac.uk

Candidate requirements and eligibility

The successful applicant will have:

  • A degree level qualification in a relevant subject (an appropriate Masters level degree is required for direct entry to the +3 PhD programme)
  • An interest in analysing quantitative data through large-scale secondary surveys
  • Some background training and experience in using social statistics
  • An interest in the research areas and methodologies involved in the project

Candidates must meet ESRC eligibility criteria (see http://www.esrc.ac.uk/skills-and-careers/studentships/prospective-students/). The full scholarship (covering payment of course fees, maintenance stipend (£14,553 per annum), and research allowance, is available to candidates with ‘settled status’ in the UK. Candidates from other EU countries but without ‘settled status’ in the UK are eligible for the payment of course fees and research allowance, but are not qualified to receive the maintenance stipend. 

 


Contact

Candidates are welcome to make informal enquiries about the academic project, which should be directed to Dr Dave Griffiths (david.griffiths@stir.ac.uk; 01786 467729).

This scholarship was added on 01/05/2017

© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
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