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Social scientists at Oxford are seeking answers to some of the world’s most important challenges. How can we tackle climate change? What needs to happen to resolve poverty? How should we respond to the economic crises? How should we fight for our human rights? Here we bring you the latest of our major discoveries in the social sciences at Oxford.

Genes linked with education and fertility depend on when and where you live

Genes linked with education and fertility depend on when and where you live

Sociology Research

Different genes affect educational attainment and fertility in different times and places, according to new research from the University of Oxford.

Cybercriminals are not as anonymous as we think

Cybercriminals are not as anonymous as we think

Sociology Research

Understanding a cybercriminal’s backstory - where they live, what they do and who they know, is key to cracking cybercrime, new research suggests.

Flexible men result in successful women

Flexible men result in successful women

Sociology Research

Women whose partners take advantage of flexible working hours see a significant increase in their own earnings.

'How conspiracy theories feed political fragmentation'

'How conspiracy theories feed political fragmentation'

Sociology Research The Conversation

The article 'How conspiracy theories feed political fragmentation' has been published on The Conversation. It was written by Turkay Salim Nefes, Research Fellow in Sociology at the University of Oxford.

Academic recognised in Queen's Birthday Honours

Academic recognised in Queen's Birthday Honours

Sociology Internet Government Award

The pioneering work of Professor Jonathan Gershuny has been recognised in The Queen's Birthday Honours List.

IVF babies do not have lower cognitive skills than naturally conceived children

IVF babies do not have lower cognitive skills than naturally conceived children

Sociology Research

New research shows that between the ages of three and 11, children conceived artificially can be linked with better scores for reading and verbal tests than children conceived naturally.

Highs and lows of an Englishman’s average height over 2000 years

Highs and lows of an Englishman’s average height over 2000 years

Sociology Research

Researchers have used data on skeletal remains to calculate how the average height of Englishmen rose or fell over 2,000 years of history. They reasoned that height, which is linked with childhood nutrition, is a good alternative measure of wellbeing and can be estimated accurately from the length of a full grown man's femur.

Professor Melinda Mills appointed Council member for the ESRC

Professor Melinda Mills appointed Council member for the ESRC

Sociology Appointment

Jo Johnson, the Minister of State for Universities and Science, has appointed Professor Melinda Mills as Council member for the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

'How years of IMF prescriptions have hurt West African health systems'

'How years of IMF prescriptions have hurt West African health systems'

Sociology Research The Conversation

The article 'How years of IMF prescriptions have hurt West African health systems' has been published on The Conversation. It was written by Thomas Stubbs, research associate at the University of Cambridge and Alexander E. Kentikelenis, research fellow in politics and sociology at the University of Oxford.

'Gaming affects standards of cleanliness in hospitals in England'

'Gaming affects standards of cleanliness in hospitals in England'

Sociology Research

Patients' surveys on cleanliness in NHS hospitals in England gave higher ratings on the standard of cleaning in their wards and bedrooms shortly before or during ‘unannounced’ inspections, according to an Oxford-led study. The authors say we can assume that 'gaming' is happening, with incentives to clean better before inspections and let standards slide afterwards. They link this pattern particularly with hospitals that out-sourced cleaning services.

Family background more responsible than education in delaying motherhood

Family background more responsible than education in delaying motherhood

Research Sociology

Studies have suggested that over recent decades, UK women have postponed motherhood largely because they want to go onto college or university to gain qualifications or fulfil educational aspirations before starting a family. Researchers from Oxford and the universities of Groningen and Wageningen in the Netherlands show that in the UK, a woman’s family background is a much bigger factor than education in their paper published in the journal, Demography.

NHS hospitals that outsource cleaning ‘linked with higher rates of MRSA’

NHS hospitals that outsource cleaning ‘linked with higher rates of MRSA’

Sociology Research

New research shows that NHS hospitals that employ private cleaners are associated with a higher incidence of MRSA, a ‘superbug’ that causes life-threatening infection and has previously been linked with a lack of cleanliness.

How Can an Academic Fight Crime?

How Can an Academic Fight Crime?

Sociology Research

Federico Varese, Professor of Criminology in Oxford University's Department of Sociology, talks about his research on the mafia.

Is there a genetic component to reproductive outcomes?

Is there a genetic component to reproductive outcomes?

Sociology Research

The Sociogenome Project is a comprehensive study which brings together sociologists and molecular scientists to examine whether there is a genetic component to reproductive outcomes, including the age at which we have our first child, and the total number of children we have during the course of our life.

Twelve DNA areas 'linked with the age at which we have our first child and family size'

Twelve DNA areas 'linked with the age at which we have our first child and family size'

Sociology Research

Researchers identify specific areas of DNA sequence that are related with the age at which we have our first child, and the total number of children we have during the course of our life.

Strong link between increased benefit sanctions and higher foodbank use

Strong link between increased benefit sanctions and higher foodbank use

Sociology Research

There is a 'strong, dynamic' relationship between people having their benefits stopped and an increase in referral to foodbanks, new research has found.

The veil worn by Muslim women 'may signal that they ARE integrating more'

The veil worn by Muslim women 'may signal that they ARE integrating more'

Sociology Research

Researchers have studied why young, highly educated Muslim women who live in modern urban environments may be choosing to wear the veil and have uncovered a paradox.

New research challenges Uber's claims about making roads safer

New research challenges Uber's claims about making roads safer

Sociology Research

New research challenges Uber's claims that its car-sharing services make the roads safer by limiting the numbers of individuals who drink and drive.

Different ethnic groups 'not likely to join the same local clubs'

Different ethnic groups 'not likely to join the same local clubs'

Sociology Research

Local sports clubs and associations are often as segregated as the neighbourhood they are in, suggests a new study. It says that rather than encouraging a mixing of different cultures, they may even reinforce rather than mitigate existing ethnic divisions in local communities.

The future of work

The future of work

Business Internet Law Politics Sociology Research

Technology has always changed employment, but the rise of robotics and artificial intelligence could transform it beyond recognition. Researchers at Oxford are investigating how technology will shape the future of work — and what we can do to ensure everyone benefits.

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