The SOCSI Review

The SOCSI Review is a journal organised by, and specifically dedicated to the work of, undergraduate students in the Cardiff University School of Social Sciences. The SOCSI Review was established to provide a forum for students committed to social science and in possession of a social scientific imagination. It is a showcase for students’ work developed in the course of, and in addition to, their studies in SOCSI and aims to demonstrate the ways in which SOCSI students engage with debates and issues within contemporary social science and wider society.


The SOCSI Review – Issue 1

School of Social Sciences graduation 2014

We wish this year’s graduates all the best in their futures.

Below are a selection of images captured on the day.

SOCSI research findings used in questions to First Minister

In December last year we published findings from research carried out by Professor Emma Renold into pre-teen experiences of growing up in a sexist society. The research received a lot of media attention (as reported on this blog!) and it sparked a national protest at Downing Street to call for compulsory sex education in schools.

Boys and Girls Speak out report cover WEBMost recently, the research has been cited by Jocelyn Davies AM during First Minister’s Questions at the Senedd and to the Minister for Education and Skills. See transcripts below:

May 13th 2014
Jocelyn Davies (South Wales East)(PC): “First Minister, I hope that you are aware of the pioneering research undertaken by Professor Emma Renold of Cardiff University with children from 10-12 years of age in Wales, which found that sexism, pressure to conform to gender norms, and even sexual harassment was in fact a feature of their everyday lives. How will your government ensure that their plans to deliver healthy relationship education in schools will tackle the problem of sexism and harassment and will you commit to looking closely at the Cardiff University research findings?”

First Minister (Carwyn Jones): “Yes I entirely accept what the Member has said; how important it is to ensure that healthy relationships are an important part of life in schools and that is something that we seek to promote in schools. And of course, the Member will be aware of the forthcoming bill that will be presented to the Assembly which will give Members the opportunity to see how this can be progressed further.” 


May 20th 2014
Jocelyn Davies (South Wales East)(PC): Minister, I recently sent you the research findings from Professor Renold at Cardiff University that found that harassment and sexism are everyday experiences for Welsh primary school pupils. Obviously teaching healthy relationships is by far the best way to tackle this. Would you consider ensuring that even very young children are able to learn about healthy relationships as part of the curriculum?

Minister for Education and Skills (Huw Lewis): Yes and I thank the Member for that question, it’s an important question actually. Yes, this is already part of my considerations in terms particularly of the work that Professor Graham Donaldson is undertaking at the moment in moulding the first ever curriculum for Wales. There are implications here of course for how we might develop our PSE work within schools. I think there are implications for the workforce in terms of skills and there are implications for the way that agencies might work together better in the future. We are certainly, I would accept, not where we need to be in terms of the support, information and guidance we offer to young people, even the youngest of our school pupils, in this regard. 

Here’s the science bit…

Did you know that we offer a Taught Master’s course in Science, Media & Communication?

This course is run in conjunction with the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies (JOMEC) and Techniquest. It is one of only a few Master’s courses in the UK that offers hands-on training in documentary making and presenting science to the public, among other modules!

Angela Graham, a freelance television producer, teaches the (optional) documentary making part of the course and she is organising an event in June to debate the lack of science on TV in Wales. Take a look at her article on the JOMEC blog which outlines her thoughts on why there should be more science programmes on Welsh television.

Simon Jones

MSc graduate Simon Jones demonstrating how to make foam!

The event on June 5th will be chaired by Wendy Sadler, founder of ‘Science Made Simple’, and the panelists are:
Professor Julie Williams, Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales
Elin Rhys, Director of Telesgôp, producers of Dibendraw
Llion Iwan, Commissioner, Factual Content, S4C
Elis Owen, Commissioner, BBC Cymru Wales

If you’re interested in taking the Master’s course, this will be a fantastic event to attend!

Find out more at: 

Meet Rhys Jones – new lecturer in Quantitative Methods

Rhys JonesRhys Jones joined the School of Social Sciences (SOCSI) in March 2014 as

a Lecturer in Quantitative Methods (FE). He is also part of the new Cardiff Q-Step Centre announced last October.

Prior to coming to Cardiff, Rhys was a lecturer in human physiology at Birmingham City University where he was also admissions tutor for health and well-being degrees. Read below about the work Rhys will be doing at the School and why you will never find him watching The Only Way is Essex!

What will your role at SOCSI involve?
Good question!  The role will involve creating a new A level in Social Analytics which encompasses statistical analysis and thinking and applying these quantitative techniques to sociological phenomena.  I will also be involved in delivering the course to local schools and colleges, as well as training teachers to deliver the new qualifications within these institutions.

What is the Q-Step project about? What does it hope to achieve?
Q-Step is a £19.5 million programme designed to promote a step-change in quantitative social science training in the UK; funded by the Nuffield Foundation, ESRC and HEFCE. It was developed as a strategic response to the shortage of quantitatively-skilled social science graduates.

There are fifteen universities across the UK establishing Q-Step Centres that will support the development and delivery of specialist undergraduate programmes, including new courses, work placements and pathways to postgraduate study.


At Cardiff we hope to develop a new undergraduate degree in BSc Social Analytics, new Quantitative Methods modules, compulsory work placements for Social Analytics pathways, a residential summer school with field trips, placements in a university research environment and develop a new Joint Honours degree into a 3 + 1 Masters course.

Who or what has been the biggest inspiration/influence on your career so far?
Mrs Davies (my biology teacher from high school). She was the first person who got me interested in science and encouraged me to go to university.

Who would be your three ideal dinner guests and why?
David Attenborough – I have so many questions to ask him! And he would have so many fascinating and captivating stories to tell.

Peter Kay – always good to have a comedian at a dinner party, and he cracks me up with this one liners – “cheesecake? Cake with cheese?!” “garlic bread” . . .” bread with garlic?!” “Get the kids in it’s spitting!”

Homer Simpson – Apart from making us laugh, he would make sure there’s no left over food since I’m dead against wasting food.

If you could banish one thing to Room 101, what would it be?
Joey Essex (or anyone from the Only Way is Essex). Endorsing stupidity is encouraging our youth to be dumb where they are swapping books for fake tan. It needs to stop! Although I hear Joey Essex wants to go back to school (on Radio One this morning) – let’s hope he can stick it out to get a GCSE in something useful!

Find out more about the Cardiff Q-Step Centre at



Research Impact in Action

Cardiff research sparks nationwide action for compulsory sex and relationships education in schools

Findings from recent research into pre-teen experiences of sexism and sexual harassment are being used to support a protest march at Downing Street.

‘Girls and Boys Speak Out: A Qualitative Study of Children’s Gender and Sexual Cultures (Age 10-12)’ was launched in December 2013 and received national and international media coverage. The research was carried out by Emma Renold, Professor of Childhood Studies at the School of Social Sciences, and commissioned by NSPCC and the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales.

Baroness Maggie Jones cited the research ahead of the proposal to the House of Lords to amend the Children and Families Bill to make sex and relationships education (SRE) compulsory in all state-funded schools, but the House of Lords voted no to the amendment in January this year.

YM t-shirt-front WEBIn response to this decision, Professor Emma Renold called for direct action by those most affected in an article for TESConnect and now nationwide protests are taking place on Saturday 8th March 2014 – which is International Women’s Day – in London, Portsmouth, Manchester, Bolton and Newcastle.  The protests have been coordinated by YES Matters, a campaign group petitioning the House of Lords and Michael Gove to make SRE part of the mandatory national curriculum.

Professor Renold will be attending the protest march in London outside Downing Street and t-shirts have been created that include quotes from the young people involved in the research.

“There’s a big disconnect between what members of the House of Lords think children need and what children themselves need from their sex and relationship education” Professor Renold said. “Current SRE is not only out of date, but patchy and partial. My research was all about hearing from children and what they thought about growing up in an increasingly sexualised society and the everyday sexism and sexual harassment they were subject to online and offline.

“The findings revealed that sex and relationships education needs to support and address the everyday realities of children’s sexual cultures, from consent to sexual harassment. Failing to update and make SRE a mandatory part of the core curriculum, that addresses sexual rights, sexual discrimination, sexual health and sexual well-being is failing to support children in navigating an increasingly complex sexual world and enduring gender and sexual inequalities” Professor Renold added.

Please click the relevant link below to read the Full Report or the English and Welsh versions of the Executive Summary:

For more information about YES Matters visit or talk to the organisers directly on Twitter @YesMattersUK.

YM t-shirt-back  YM t-shirt-quotes-back

Cardiff ranked in the world’s top 100 for Sociology

Cardiff University has been ranked in the top 100 for Sociology in the most recent QS World University Rankings.

QS logoThis builds on the result from the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) when it was rated first in the UK on the research power measure.

The 2014 QS World University Rankings by Subject reveals the top 200 universities in the world for 30 different disciplines. It provides the only means available to prospective students of placing universities in order for their particular area of interest, rather than as whole institutions or broad faculty combinations.

The QS World University Rankings by Subject evaluated 3,002 universities and ranked 689 institutions in total. 130 million citation attributions were analysed and the provision of 10,639 programs was verified. Find out more about at

SOCSI students celebrate Graduation

Graduation day is the culmination of our students’ hard work and determination where they celebrate their achievements with family and friends. It is the highlight of our academic calendar because it is always a joyful day! Last year, we tried to capture this joy on camera and talked to some of our graduates about what the day meant to them and what they enjoyed most about their time here. Take a look!

In 2014, our Graduation day takes place on Tuesday July 15th. Find out more at

Hawk-Eye technology research sparks national conversation

Research led by Professor Harry Collins into Hawk-Eye technology has been featured on the Conversation UK, sparking debate about its accuracy in sport.

‘Out! Goal! The ball was in! But could Hawk-Eye get it wrong?’ has received more than 10,000 views on the independent news and commentary website, in which articles are written by academics and journalists. 

The article discusses that reconstructed track devices, such as Hawk-Eye, are based on estimates which can lead to a larger than average margin for error. It suggests that these technologies are not infallible and that spectators ought to know more about how the technology works.


Professor Collins and Dr Rob Evans published their first paper on this topic in 2008 in which they used Hawk-Eye to examine the public understanding of science. A subsequent paper, published in 2012, looked in more detail at how technologies are being used in a number of sports, paying particular attention to how uncertainty is conveyed to viewers and spectators and how the same technology is being used differently by cricket and tennis .  

The Conversation article was also picked by New Statesman.

Research on pre-teen experiences of sexism receives national press attention

New research carried out by Professor Emma Renold on the views and experiences of pre-teen boys and girls growing up in a sexist society was launched last week, receiving national press attention.

Commissioned by the NSPCC and the office of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, ‘Boys and Girls Speak Out: A Qualitative Study of Children’s Gender and Sexual Cultures (Age 10-12)’, addressed the absence of young people’s own experiences in public concern and media debates surrounding sexism and sexual harassment.

The research received widespread coverage in the newspapers and online. It was featured in the Telegraph by women’s journalist Louisa Peacock and the story appeared on BBC Wales News, ITV Wales News, S4C youth programme ‘Ffeil’, Real Radio, Capital Radio, Western Mail, South Wales Echo and South Wales Argus.

The research report has also been blogged about by renowned international Dutch scholar Professor Linda Duits and has had more than 130 downloads on the first day of being uploaded onto Professor Renold’s site.

Students from Ysgol Plasmawr reading their poem at the launch of the research

Students from Ysgol Plasmawr reading their poem at the launch of the research

Not only was this the first study of its kind to be carried out with young people in Wales, but the research findings were interpreted by students from Ysgol Gyfun Plasmawr who created a poem on the sexual objectification of girls’ bodies and a short drama piece on the pressures of compulsory heterosexuality in children’s friendship cultures. The poem and the drama were performed at the launch event in the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay, in front of AM’s, policy-makers, practitioners, other academics and senior staff from NSPCC and other third-sector organisations.

Professor Renold will be working closely with the National Assembly for Wales’ cross party group ‘Childhood Sexuality, Sexualisation and Equality’ to inform future policy development and resources for practitioners over the coming year. The research was cited by Baroness Maggie Jones ahead of the proposal to the House of Lords (January 28th 2014) to amend the Children and Families Bill to make sex and relationships education (SRE) compulsory in all state-funded schools.

The poem (Mis(s)een) is below. The poem  has also been printed in the Telegraph!

To find out more about the research and its key findings, the Executive summary and full report can be viewed via this page. Boys and Girls Speak out


In one day we can hear

‘you’re fat’, ‘faf’, ‘slag’, ‘nice legs’, ‘nice bum’, ‘grown up’, ‘mature’, ‘cool’, ‘sexy’, boom’, ‘oy’, [wolf whistle], ‘slut’, ‘beautiful’, ‘hi ya princess’, ‘stuck up’ …

Our bodies are commented on, all day long,

With media telling us how to look, from zero size models and what not to wear, hearing a wolf whistle from an old guy in the street,

Can make you feel appreciated and downgraded

Uplifted and insecure

at the same time

Our bodies, commented on, all day long

Feeling good, feeling bad

It’s awkward, it’s hard.

Commented on, all day long

Wanting to tell someone, but nothing’s going to change

When you do tell someone, nothing does change

All day long

If we could press a button, would we want it to stop?

When we get value for how we look?


How would it feel to be free of this?

What would it be like to be valued for what we do, not how we look?

Bright, free spirit, funny, feisty, caring, independent, clever, bubbly, understanding, creative, outgoing, sporty, determined, radical, adventurous,

These words make us feel good

How do they make you feel?

Are we just bodies?

Just bodies?