Social & Policy

Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research

The Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research (CMI) is a centre for excellence in quantitative social science. Their work contributes to advancing quantitative social science in three key ways. Firstly, they are actively engaged in developing new methods and forms of data for conducting quantitative social science research. Second, they apply new and established quantitative methods to answer major substantive social and political research questions. Finally they offer extensive training and capacity building to help the academic and non-academic community make the best use of quantitative methods and data to conduct their own research.

The Institute environment is a highly inter-disciplinary and vibrant one, bringing together scholars from a range of social science disciplines including sociology, politics, health and criminology. Their core research projects investigate a range of important societal problems such as the causes and consequences of social and ethnic inequalities, the drivers and barriers to wider civic and political participation and the ethical and practical challenges that new forms of data bring to social research. Their core mission is to offer innovative and rigorous empirical answers to contemporary social and political problems, and to empower others to do the same.

Lead Reseachers in Data Science at the Cathie Marsh Institute:

Professor Rachel Gibson

Rachel is the Director of the Cathie Marsh Institute and works on quantitative social science along with other social statistical researchers. Her research interests include new media, political parties, election campaigning and citizens’ online participation and the use of new media by political organisations and candidates in campaigns and elections. Rachel has led several projects examining the impact of the Internet on political parties, campaigns and voters funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Australian Research Council (ARC). She led the internet component of the 2015 British Election Study (BES) which undertook to merge survey responses with social media tracking data. She has also been a PI/Co-I on the Australian Election Study since 2001 and co-directs the Australian Candidate Study. She is on the Peer Review College of the ESRC and has reviews for a range of funding bodies including the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Leverhulme Trust and the British Academy.

Professor Mark Elliot

Mark Elliot has worked at the University of Manchester since 1996, where he currently holds a chair in data science. His research is focused on the topics of data privacy and anonymisation. He founded the international recognised Confidentiality and Privacy Research Group (CAPRI) in 2002, and has run numerous research projects within the CAPRI remit. He leads the UK Anonymisation Network and the University's CDT on Data Analytics and Society. Mark collaborates widely with non-academic partners, particularly with national statistical agencies (e.g. Office for National Statistics, US Bureau of the Census, Australian Bureau of Statistics) where he has been a key influence on disclosure control methodology used in censuses and surveys and where the SUDA software developed in collaboration with colleagues in Computer Science in Manchester is currently employed. Aside from Confidentiality and Privacy his research interests include the Psychology and Sociology of Personal Relationships. 

Professor Jane Green

Jane is Professor of Political Science in the Cathy Marsh Institute for Social Research, she is Co-Director of the 2015 British Election Study (see Her research interests are in public opinion and electoral behaviour, especially relating to competence and reward-punishment voting and blame. Her research is characterised by long-term contextual explanations of political choice, and over-time variation in public opinion - and their implications for politics, broadly defined. Her work with the British Election Study includes analyses of long-term economic voting, how attitudes about election outcomes condition political choice, the impact of party campaigns on public opinion and vote choices, how respondent-defined google maps help explain attitudes to immigration, and how survey-linked social media data can be used to define representative samples of online communities.




Professor Natalie Shlomo

Natalie is Professor of Social Statistics. She is the UK principle investigator for several collaborative grants from the 7th Framework Programme and H2020 of the European Union all involving research in improving survey methods and dissemination. Her research interests include survey methodology and analysis of survey data particularly in the areas of survey design and estimation, small area estimation, non-response analysis and adjustments, quality indicators for representative response, statistical disclosure control, statistical data editing and imputation, data linkage and integration.




Dr Kingsley Purdam

Kingsley is an expert in public consultation including public policy making and consultation methods. He has successfully completed a range of national research projects across challenging social policy areas working both in the public and private sector. He has successfully completed and published consultancy and research on behalf of: the Electoral Commission, the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Home Office, the Department for Trade and Industry, the Department for Work and Pensions, the National Assembly for Wales, the European Union, the International Labour Organisation and numerous local authorities and charities.




Dr Joseph Sakshaug

Joseph Sakshaug is Senior Lecturer in Social Statistics at the University of Manchester. His research interests include all aspects of survey design and methodology, record linkage, nonresponse and measurement error, interviewer effects, imputation and missing data issues, statistical disclosure control, small area estimation, mixed-mode data collection, and the collection of sensitive and biological measurements. Substantive interests include labour market research, health services research, epidemiology, social psychology, and data privacy. His research has been funded by the British Academy, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the German Science Foundation, the U.S. National Science Foundation, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He has served as consultant for several international organizations, including the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound), the European Science Foundation, and the UAE Federal Demographics Council.