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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.

  • A focus on quadratic equations

    Education Research

    Oxford researchers are taking part in an international study to film the teaching of quadratic equations for secondary school pupils. The hope is that lessons will be learned on how to bring out the best in pupils learning about mathematics.

  • Study into who is least afraid of death

    Anthropology Research

    A new study examines all robust, available data on how fearful we are of what happens once we shuffle off this mortal coil. They find that atheists are among those least afraid of dying...and, perhaps not surprisingly, the very religious.

  • New LSE-Oxford commission launched by David Cameron

    Government Policy Research

    Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron explained the mission of a new LSE-Oxford commission that he will chair. At its launch last night in London, he said the Commission on State Fragility, Growth and Development would 'set out the road map of recovery for fragile states'.

  • Natural measures to prevent floods are not a 'silver bullet'

    Geography Research

    Oxford Martin School research says claims that natural flood management can improve the worst floods are not supported by scientific evidence. Their research in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A concludes that natural measures to manage flooding from rivers can play a valuable role in flood prevention. However, a lack of monitoring means their true potential remains unclear.

  • Researchers test what lies behind the extreme self-sacrifice of fighters

    Anthropology Research

    The extreme self-sacrificial behaviour found in suicide bombers and soldiers where they are even prepared to die for one another presents an evolutionary puzzle: how can a trait that calls for an individual to make the ultimate sacrifice, defending a group of people they are not related to, persist over evolutionary time? A new study, published in Nature's Scientific Reports and led by the University of Oxford, provides insight into the causes of self-sacrifice in violent conflicts around the world, from holy wars to gangland violence.

  • Doubts about whether internet filters protect teenagers online

    Internet Research

    Internet filters are widely used in homes, schools and libraries throughout the UK to protect young people from unpleasant online experiences. However, a new study by Oxford casts doubt on whether such technologies shield young teenagers after finding no link between homes with internet filters and the likelihood of the teenagers in those households being better protected.

  • 'Good vibration' hand pumps boost Africa's water security

    Geography Research

    Researchers from the University’s Department of Engineering Science and the School of Geography and the Environment believe they have discovered a new way of accurately estimating ground water resources in Africa, using low-cost mobile technologies fitted to existing hand pumps.

  • 'Computer bots are like humans, having fights lasting years'

    Internet Research

    Researchers say 'benevolent bots', otherwise known as software robots, that are designed to make articles on Wikipedia better often end up having online fights lasting years over changes in content.

  • Why the working class voter may be turning away from Labour

    Politics Research

    New research suggests that while class voting dominated British party politics for much of the post-war period, many working class voters no longer identify the Labour party as 'their' party. It suggests that this is because party policies, and the politicians’ rhetoric and social background changed radically in the 1990s and no longer appealed directly to the working class voter.

  • '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.