Past Events

The Long arm of childhood: Early life disadvantage, educational attainment and healthy life expectancy


The Queen's Q-Step Centre was pleased to welcome renowned sociology Professor Mark Hayward from the University of Texas at Austin, as part of our Q-Step Masterclass series.

Professor Hayward's seminar addressed how educational attainment potentially compensates for childhood disadvantages and poor health in extending healthy life expectancy. 

The presentation is available to download as pdf.


Digging for Data: Using Freedom of Information for Public Understanding (Kathryn Torney, The Detail)


Award winning Investigative journalist Kathryn Torney demonstrated how she uses the Freedom of Information Act to extract statistical data from public bodies in order to increase public understanding of social issues.

The event included a presentation followed by an informal discussion. Kathryn Torney detailed how she became interested in the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act as an investigative journalist and what she has learned about the practicalities of making FOI requests. She provided examples of successful FOI requests, what she has been able to discover from the data and how people have responded to the data stories.


2015 Q-Step Sociology Poster Competition (closed)

In 2015, the Queen’s Q-Step Centre invited submissions for the ‘Queen’s Q-Step Sociologist of the Year’ poster competition. The competition has now ended but please check again soon for details about future competitions and awards.Sociologist of the Year Poster Competition 2015

This competition allowed applicants to apply the skills gained throughout their study of sociology using the Young Life and Times Survey (YLT). The YLT is an annual survey which asks 16 year olds in Northern Ireland about a wide range of topics such as family, identity, finance, health, education, politics and community.

First place prize of £200 and second place prize of £100

What did we want you to do?

We wanted you to create a poster to illustrate the experiences of young people, drawing on the YLT results available online. The poster described the responses reported by young people in the survey and offered a brief discussion of the significance of these results. The supporting discussions drew on material covered in their sociology course so far.



ESRC Festival of Social Science, November 2016


A-Level Sociology Students from Belfast Met College visited QUB as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science event "Researching young people: why their voices count", in conjunction with Q-Step.  The event included contributions from research staff in the Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation, the Centre for Children's Rights and ARK as well as Lecturers and PhD students from Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work.

The event introduced students to the different types of research methods used in the social sciences, from focus groups through to surveys. Some students worked in small groups to create posters, using data from the Young Life and Times survey, exploring diverse topics ranging from sex education through to community relations. Other groups engaged with debates on poverty and material deprivation, drawing on the ESRC Poverty and Social Exclusion survey data.

As well as other activities, students had the opportunity to learn how to analyse, interpret and present quantitative research; these skills are central to the aims and objectives of the Q-Step programme and are core to the BSc Sociology with Quantitative Methods.

For details about our 2015 ESRC Festival of Social Science event, which focused on migration and mobility, please see here for information and download the flyer.


2015 Festival event: Making Sense of Migration and Mobility


The Queen's Q-Step Centre was awarded funding to run an event as part of the annual ESRC Festival of Social Science. The event took place on QUB campus on 13 November 2015 (10.30am - 2pm).

Making Sense of Migration and Mobility provided students the chance to learn about many aspects of migration throughout history and today, to see first-hand how social scientists collect and organise ‌research data and to get involved in group activities on the topics of the day. The event included short presentations, interactive lectures, staff-facilitated discussions, data displays and opportunities to talk to staff about future study options.

Nearly one hundred students from Belfast Metropolitan College and South Eastern Regional College attended the event.


Crossing borders in the 21st century, 2015


The Queen's Q-Step Centre is involved in the RCUK Schools-Universities Partnership Initiative (SUPI). In June 2015, just under one hundred Year 9 students from a range of schools from the Magherafelt Learning Partnership attended workshops on campus on the theme "Crossing Borders in the 21st Century”.

Along with Q-Step Lecturers, Dr Chris Raymond (Lecturer in Politics, School of Politics, International Studies, and Philosophy) and Dr Vikki O'Neill (Lecturer in Statistics, School of Mathematics and Physics), Dr Natasa Mavronicola (School of Law) was also involved in the organisation and workshop delivery.

The workshops were designed to provide a “hands-on” introduction to several important themes relating to borders in contemporary society and politics and used specific examples to show the importance of understanding the roles and definitions of borders as they relate to Northern Ireland. The team also visited St Mary's Grammar School in November 2015 for a follow-up event with the new cohort of Year 9 students.

As part of SUPI, we also collaborated with the Magherafelt Learning Partnership to run a poster competition for Year 9 and Year 10 students in selected schools.


2015 Annual Conference


The School hosts an Annual Sociology Conference on campus. All schools are emailed about this event at the start of the new academic year. For more details, please contact

‌The 2015 conference theme was Sociological Research in Local and Global Contexts. Professor Sally Shortall, Head of School, introduced the day and also presented the winner of the Q-Step Sociologist of the Year Poster Competition - Keely Pollock (Belfast Metropolitan College) -  with her prize. During a dedicated session during the conference, the students had the opportunity to browse the posters created by Q-Step Work Placement second year students, based on their activities during their summer placements. They also voted on the best poster and the winner was Kathryn Lynas, a third year BA Joint Honours Sociology and Criminology student. Kathryn's placement was at the NSPCC.

Photographs from the event