CSSR 2012 Summer School

Quantitative Studies of Violence in South Africa

30 January – 9 February 2012


Prof. Rajen Govender (Dept of Sociology and CSSR)
Dr. Pedro Wolf (Department of Psychology and CSSR)
assisted by Eduard Grebe (DataFirst)



The CSSR will be hosting a short summer school course in the use of quantitative methods in research on violence in South Africa. The purpose of the course is to introduce basic, intermediate and some advanced topics in quantitative analysis so that students have a richer critical understanding of the methods used in existing studies and some capacity to conduct such analyses themselves. Using recent social scientific studies of violence in South Africa and the datasets used in these publications, the course will focus on understanding how social scientists have and can use quantitative data to identify the levels and causes of South Africa’s high levels of violence. The course will examine neighbourhood- and individual-level datasets. Using the software SPSS, the course will cover the following aspects of quantitative analysis:

  • Identifying and defining research questions and setting up research hypotheses;
  • Generating statistics for the description of research data and the testing of univariate hypotheses;
  • Undertaking bivariate and multivariate inferential analysis using statistical techniques applicable to both continuous and categorical independent and dependent variables;
  • Introduction to advanced multivariate analysis using path analysis and structural equations modelling.

In addition to daily class assignments, the main assignment of the course will be the set-up and execution of a short research paper using an identified dataset.

The course lasts nine days, with an optional session for students who are not familiar with SPSS but have used other software such as Stata. The course is offered for free by the Centre for Social Science Research, but students must organise their own accommodation, travel and food.

For more details, download the flyer and full programme.


The summer school will be of value to all students and researchers working in the field of violence and/or working with datasets comprising data on violence. The course will especially benefit those who:

  1. Already have a working knowledge of social statistics and wish to extend upon this and/or refresh their knowledge thereof,
  2. Are somewhat proficient in SPSS or comparable software (such as Stata) and/or are currently using SPSS and wish to learn more advanced applications of the software;
  3. Have a research project or dataset which they are currently engaged with, or are planning to undertake such a project in the near future.

The course is aimed at both postgraduate students registered at universities, junior researchers at universities, and researchers working for NGOs or the state. The course will be limited to a maximum of ten students.


All applicants to the course will be screened and selected on the basis of their 1) current/future engagement in research projects on violence, 2) competence in social statistics, and 3) basic proficiency in SPSS (or comparable software). While the CSSR is keen to extend its capacity development to diverse individuals and institutions, this summer school would not be appropriate for those who have little or no training in social statistics. Additionally, as the course entails an assignment comprising a research paper, priority will be accorded to applicants on the basis of their current/future research interests in violence studies and related areas. Applications should be done online by filling out the form below.

Applications have now closed

PDF icon CSSR Summer School 2012 Flyer.pdf232.31 KB