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Citizen Social Science - Funded PhD Research Studentship

Date: 6 February 2014

Full-time, 3-year PhD studentship, starting September 2014.

Universities of Manchester and Lancaster, and The Mass Observation Archive

The internationally recognised Centre for Census and survey Research ( at the University of Manchester and the Mobilities.Lab at the University of Lancaster ( are inviting applications for an ESRC PhD CASE studentship focused on examining the role of citizens in social science research.

The PhD is focused on exploring the idea of 'citizen social science'. This involves volunteer observers gathering data for use in collaborative social science research in a highly structured and systematic way including using digital technology as they go about their daily activities. In many ways this is a development of citizen science where volunteers contribute to science research such as, for example, in relation to environmental monitoring. Many people are increasingly creating digital data from their daily activities and communications. But can citizens become fieldworkers of the world around them in a more directed and structured way, working alongside trained social scientists? Such an approach could renew ideas of emancipatory and social justice driven social science. The PhD will include: a citizen science literature and ethics review, a longitudinal follow up of Mass Observers, a series of pilot data gathering case studies and the cross validation of observation data and consultation with key stakeholders in the social science research field.

The PhD student will join an active research network and will have access to the Mass Observation Data Archive ( There will be opportunities for training in a range of research and employment-related skills including: project management, data analysis, communication, writing and presenting. There will also be opportunities to attend conferences and seminars. Some part-time teaching may also be possible.

The successful applicant will need to show the potential to develop a range of research skills and expertise across a number of disciplines including: social anthropology, sociology and social statistics using qualitative and quantitative methods. A 2:1 degree in a relevant discipline and a merit or higher ESRC recognised MSc is required. Funded by the ESRC, the PhD studentship includes a tax-free living allowance (£13,863 p.a.) and research and travel expenses. Additional fieldwork support may be available from the University.

The PhD will be in Social Anthropology and be primarily based in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Manchester and linked with the Mobilities.Lab and the Mass Observation Archive. Some UK travel will be required during the PhD. To apply: please send your CV, a two-page covering letter (quoting CSS1PhD0 outlining your key skills and experience and two references to

The closing date for applications is Thursday 27 February 2014 at 5pm.

For informal enquiries please contact Dr. Kingsley Purdam or Dr. Monika Buscher, University of Lancaster

Residential eligibility candidates must satisfy ESRC residential eligibility requirements and be UK (full award) or EU (fees only) citizens. Please see Studentship Application Guidance for Staff.pdf


Further information

Associated staff: Monika Büscher

Associated departments and research centres: Centre for Mobilities Research (CeMoRe), Mobilities.Lab, Sociology

Keywords: Mathematics, Sociology, Statistics


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