Dr Todd Hartman, Professor of Quantitative Social Science, to join the Faculty
We are pleased to announce that Dr Todd Hartman will be joining the faculty as Professor of Quantitative Social Science beginning in August 2021.
Dr Todd Hartman is a political psychologist by training and is recognised as an international expert in the design and analysis of complex surveys and experiments.
Much of his research investigates the psychological determinants of public opinion and mass behaviour using quantitative methods of casual inference, and his work has been published in prestigious peer-reviewed academic journals such as Nature Communications, Psychological Medicine, Big Data & Society, Social Psychological and Personality Science, British Journal of Political Science, Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Political Psychology, and Political Communication.
Previously, Dr Hartman worked at the Sheffield Methods Institute, The University of Sheffield as Senior Lecturer in Quantitative Research Methods and Director of the Sheffield Q-Step Centre, which was founded as part of a £20 million investment from the Nuffield Foundation, Economic and Social Research Council, and Higher Education Funding Council for England to promote a step-change in quantitative social science training in the UK.
Recently, Dr Hartman has been working with an interdisciplinary team to study the impact of COVID-19 on the British public. The project secured early funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and to date has collected nationally representative panel data from five survey waves of respondents beginning when the first UK Lockdown was announced (on 23 March 2020) through to April 2021, with 2 further waves of data collection planned later this year. This unique collaboration is only one of two social science research teams to receive ESRC funding to collect new longitudinal survey data on British adults to study the implications of COVID-19. While the project has been immensely challenging, given the speed with which things have changed locally, nationally, and internationally, it has also been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (hopefully!) to study a global health crisis which has wrought about such societal upheaval.
This project is also making an impact outside of academia, as Dr Hartman and his colleagues are regularly in contact with Public Health England, Public Health Scotland, the NHS, the Cabinet Office, and others working in the public interest. One exciting aspect of this project is that the data contains so many validated psychological, political, economic, and social indicators (including geolocation information) that there are still many important questions to be answered with the available survey data. Dr Hartman is eager to explore opportunities to collaborate with academic staff and early career researchers at The University of Manchester using the data collected since the pandemic began. Full details about the COVID-19 Psychological Research Consortium are available at the consortium homepage and the Open Science Framework.
Although recent events have dictated a change in Dr Hartman’s ‘normal’ research focus (i.e., he would not consider himself a pandemic scholar), he has plans to return to several other projects. One such project involves validating the measurement properties and differential item functioning of the construct of empathy – the ability to place oneself in other people’s shoes (i.e., perspective taking) and share their feelings (i.e., concern) – to examine the causes and consequences of this construct in society. He is also interested in examining public attitudes toward geographical redistricting, which has taken on greater significance due to the recent census in the United States, for example, which state legislatures can use to draw boundaries for partisan gains. Finally, he is collaborating with colleagues at Manchester to develop methods to differentiate among the underlying causal model for latent constructs using network analysis and latent variable models.
In addition to research interests, Dr Hartman is keen to develop a quantitative social science speaker series, focusing on fostering collaborations with international scholars. He is also keen to build links with existing strengths within the University, for example, by contributing to the training of early career researchers using the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). Finally, he sees opportunities to build links with the British Election Study Team (housed within the Department of Politics), which runs the longest-running social science survey in the UK.