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Dr Chris Playford

Lecturer (Sociology)

Clayden 1.07

Office Hours

Term 1: Tuesday 3pm-4pm and Thursday 1pm-2pm.

Please note that there will be no office hours during weeks 2,3 and 4 because I am on paternity leave.

During this period, an alternative contact will be arranged should you have any questions.


Research Interests

I am a sociologist working in the fields of social stratification and the sociology of education. My work has focused on modelling the role of family background on educational attainment with a substantive interest in inequality and disadvantage. I specialise in the secondary analysis of large-scale survey and administrative data. I have methodological interests in a range of quantitative techniques including generalised linear and mixed models, latent class analysis and multiple imputation of missing data.


Current Research Projects

Co-investigator. "Parental Social Class and Filial School Level Educational Outcomes in Contemporary Britain: Analysis of Understanding Society and Administrative Data." [with Dr Roxanne Connelly and Prof Vernon Gayle]. Economic & Social Research Council Secondary Data Analysis Initiative (SDAI). £174,000. Oct 2018 - April 2020.

In this project we will examine and extend the range of occupation-based social class variables in Understanding Society. We will then explore variation in educational outcomes of young people by these measures.


Modules taught in previous academic years

SOC2021 - Understanding Social Inequalities

SOCM029 - Data Visualisation

Research group links

Research interests

Working Papers

Playford, C.J., Dibben, C. & Williamson, L. (2017) The relationship between educational outcomes and family socioeconomic position in Scotland: the role of low birthweight and child development. SLS Research Working Paper 12. Longitudinal Studies Centre Scotland: Edinburgh/St Andrews.

Gayle, V., Playford, C.J., Connelly, R. and Murray, S. (2016) Between the NEET and the tidy - Exploring 'middle' outcomes in Scottish school qualifications. CPC Working Paper 76, ESRC Centre for Population Change, UK.

Gayle. V. and Playford, C.J. (2014) The concealed middle? An exploration of ordinary young people and school GCSE subject area attainment. CPC Working Paper 51, ESRC Centre for Population Change, UK.

Ralston, K. Connelly, R. Murray, S. Playford, C. (2010) Methods in Survey Design to Improve Response Rates: A Review of the Empirical Evidence, School of Applied Social Science Working Paper.

Research supervision

 I supervise work involved quantitative modelling of educational and occupational inequalities. This includes studies of social stratification, occupational origins and destinations, and educational attainment. I am particularly interested in studies which attempt to better understand the pathways and routes young people take from education into the labour market and the influence their family background has had on the skills they develop and the decisions they make.


Prior to coming to Exeter I was a Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh working in the Administrative Data Research Centre - Scotland (2014-17). I gained my PhD in Sociology (2011) and MSc Applied Social Research (2007) from the University of Stirling. My undergraduate degree was MA (Hons) Management (2003) at the University of St Andrews. I have also worked for a number of organisations in the private sector.

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