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Exeter Q-Step Centre brings together international research-focused social scientists. Q-Step research takes an interdisciplinary and data-driven focus to address major societal challenges. Our approach to research is interdisciplinary and works across the University of Exeter and with a number of industry partners. Q-Step’s interdisciplinary research activity also offers an opportunity for our students to learn-by-observing data analysis and to be part of cutting-edge research.


The University of Exeter’s Q-Step Centre has a total 17 core research staff across a number of disciplines including Politics, Sociology, International Relations and Criminology as well as over 20 affiliated staff and several industry partners. These staff have expertise in a number of areas including complex survey data, text analysis and network analysis. Exeter Q-Step has research funding from a variety of sources including the EU, ERSC and the Policing College Fund.


Exeter Q-Step Centre’s research focuses on the three themes of connecting people, society and data. These themes will provide scientifically coherent programmes of research aimed at driving forward innovations in social science theory, the development and application of novel research methods, and the collation and analysis of data sources.


The research programmes that sit within these research themes are:

This research programme looks at how socioeconomic background shapes people’s aspirations and the realisation of these aspirations throughout their lives. The focus of this programme includes: educational outcomes and access to educational pathways, including higher education; fertility and how this affects career decisions and career aspirations; older age aspirations and how individuals live during later life. This programme also seeks to contribute to international comparative work in these fields.

Staff: Nitzan Peri-Rotem, Alexey Bessudnov, Pallavi Amitava Banerjee, Chris Playford, Jane Elliott, Anna Mountford-Zimdars

Disciplines: Sociology, Politics, Anthropology, Education,

Topics: demography, ethnicity, ethnic minorities, aspiration

Projects: ExPERT, Ethnic groups in the Russian Labour Market, Inclusion and the Academisation of English Secondary Schools, Brexit and Belonging


Policing in practice research at Exeter Q-Step aims to understand and improve policing policy, practice and professionalism through innovative data use and the development of police data collection. This research programme focuses on how force is used by police, the health of police officers, and how police-civilian interactions get reflected in data.

Staff: Abigail Dymond, Katharine Boyd, Brian Rappert

Disciplines: Sociology, Politics, Anthropology, Psychology, Exeter Medical School

Topics: criminology, policing, data collection


Computational social science research at Exeter Q-Step looks at the intersection between computer science and social science. Q-Step has expertise in social networks, text as data and Bayesian inference.

Staff: Susan Banducci, Travis Coan, Lorien Jasny, Lamprini Rori, Oliver James, Alice Moseley, Gabriel Katz

Disciplines: Social Sciences and International Studies, Mathematics, Business

Topics: Computer Science, social networks, text as data

Projects: ExpoNET, Local Elections and Voter ID Pilots

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