Winners of Dissertation Prize 2016 announced

Article dated: 13 July 2016

The winners of the Dissertation Prize 2016 have been announced.

The Dissertation Prize recognises and rewards undergraduate students who demonstrated flair and originality in using quantitative data available through the UK Data Service for their dissertations. Each of the winners were awarded a prize: £500 (1st) £250 (2nd) £150 (3rd).

The winners of the 2016 Dissertation Prize are:

1st Prize

Victoria Smith

BA Criminology, University of Manchester

Dissertation title: “An Exploration into the Factors Shaping Victim Reporting of Partner Abuse to the Police”

Victims of partner abuse are amongst the least likely to report their victimisation to police. Using Scottish Crime and Justice Survey data, Victoria explored victim reporting of partner abuse to the police presenting bivariate and logistic regression analyses of the factors involved. Her findings indicate that female victims, victims whose children were present or involved in the abuse, victims who felt victimised and victims experiencing multiple physical effects are the most likely to report. This has implications for determining valid victimisation rates, identifying and apprehending offenders and ensuring victims are aware of and receive support and services.

2nd Prize (Joint)

Chiara Peluso

BA Economics with Hispanic Studies, University of Nottingham

Dissertation title: “The Dynamics of the Fertility-Education Relationship in the UK”

Chiara explored the relationship between higher education and fertility in the UK and how it has evolved over time. The analysis focused on the years 1993 through to 2008 using data for women from the Labour Force Survey divided into cohorts by age. Her findings showed that higher education has a negative effect on fertility for all age groups excluding the 40+ cohort. They also revealed the impact on fertility of the 1998 Teaching and Higher Education Act in the UK and its subsequent abolition in Scotland in the year 2000. Chiara concludes that the principal explanation for these results lies with human capital theory, and the fact that the opportunity cost for a highly educated woman to have children today is simply too high, bringing to light important welfare policy implications.

Jonathan Roberts

BSc Politics & International Relations with Quantitative Methods, University of Bristol

Dissertation title: “Parental Political Partisanship and Declining Youth Turnout in the UK”

This dissertation suggests that the dramatic decline in the strength of party identification observed in the 1960s and the resulting lack of politically partisan parents may be in part responsible for the low levels of youth turnout we see today. Jonathan used the British Election Study data from 1964-2015 to investigate trends in the strength of partisan identities before using logistic regression on data from 1983, 1997 and 2015 to evaluate the existence of a relationship between age, having a politically partisan parent and voting. The findings demonstrate a statistically significant interaction between age and having a politically partisan parent in 2015 and therefore concludes that the falling number of politically partisan parents can contribute to an understanding of recent declines of youth turnout in the UK.

3rd Prize

Pippa MacNair

BSc Geography, University of St Andrews

Dissertation title: “A Geospatial Analysis of Obesity Prevalence in Scotland”

Pippa analysed spatial determinants of obesity levels in Scotland. She explored variations in obesity prevalence and its determinants at a fine spatial resolution, combining data from individual GP practices with that from the Scottish data from the 2011 Census. Findings showed that obesity levels vary at a local-level, and that the key processes which drive obesity also vary over geographic space. This provides a starting point from which to conduct a more detailed investigation into the mechanisms involved at a local level, which could help formulate a more targeted and cost-effective policy approach.

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