5th September 2013 - 10:57 | London UK, London/Essex
I have an extensive background in data analysis/research methods, including an ESRC recognised (as training for a Ph.D.) M.Sc. in social science research methods, a post-graduate diploma in applied research methods, several years teaching experience teaching the same at university level, and three undergraduate-level textbooks (see below) on the same. I also worked for Essex Police, for two and a half years, in their Management Support Department, designing and managing the force’s Performance Indicator System.
It perhaps goes without saying that one needs an in-depth knowledge of research methods in order to write and publish books on the subject. I have written and published two undergraduate level textbooks (including an interactive CD Rom and business supplement) on the subject - Taylor, M. S. (2007) Interacting with Statistics: the Role of Statistics in the Research Process, and Taylor. M. S. (2008) What Does This Tell Us? Social Research Data and How to Come by It. (All of which browse under their respective titles on www.Amazon.co.uk, and can be found in public libraries under the classmark 300.72.)
I wrote my first book in response to the difficulties students seemed to be having with statistics/data analysis (see ‘Interacting with Statistics’ preface). Writing the book required not just an understanding of the relevant statistical concepts, but how to organise them into a logical, coherent framework, and, if necessary, how those concepts could be explained better (than in existing texts). The books that followed (‘What Does This Tell Us’ and the ‘Business Supplement’) demonstrate how my understanding of research methods and data analysis is not just limited to quantitative methods or social research. My research into informal workplace behaviour (M.Sc. dissertation) and the press’ reporting of legal cases (M.Phil. dissertation), both feature in my second book (‘What Does This Tell Us’).
I have spent the last few years project managing the establishment of my own computer animation studio. Much of this has involved researching and investigating the ways in which different software can be utilised in the services of teaching/training (e-learning), business and entertainment, not just in printed form, but interactively (in the form of 3D models and animations), and over the web. This can be seen, most clearly, in the interactive CD Rom which accompanies my first book, ‘Interacting with Statistics’. I am also familiar with a number of software packages used in research, data analysis, presentations and report writing (including Excel, SPSS and Harvard Graphics). In the case of word processing packages, principally Word 2002 (XP), this includes not only the word processing functions but the inclusion of graphs, diagrams, statistical equations, drawings, pictures and so on (used in my textbooks).
As well as the above named qualifications, in social research, I have degrees in Psychology (B.Sc., 2i, Lancaster and Colorado) and Criminology (M.Phil., University of Cambridge, Institute of Criminology), as well as a B/Tec National Diploma in Business and Finance (with Distinction). I have also studied and/or written (unpublished) papers on a number of social science subjects, either as part of my academic career or for general interest, encompassing aspects of philosophy, history, sociology, and media studies. This has given me a multi-disciplinary understanding of society and human nature, as can be seen in the examples used in my publications, particularly my second book ‘What Does This Tell Us?(see below for details).
I have studied a range of academic and professional subjects, at various levels, in various institutions, via different modes of teaching; full time, part time, evening, and distance. I also have many years teaching experience in the adult (East Essex Adult Community College, ‘A’ level and Basildon College [not shown], GCSE), and higher (South Bank, Middlesex, and a number of Open University residential schools) education sectors. I also have a recognised teaching qualification, in the form of a City and Guilds 7307 Stage I for teaching in adult and further education (studied as part of in-house training with East Essex Adult Community College). As such, I am familiar with the different factors which influence achievement and how data on this process can be collected and analysed in order to aid policy decisions.
I also worked for Essex Police, for two and a half years, in their Management Support Department, designing and managing the force’s Performance Indicator System. I was also responsible for producing monthly reports on the same. These reports were all conducted to monthly deadlines and required liaison not only with those receiving the reports but those supplying the information. This work required an awareness of the relevant national standards and way in which this information was likely to be used for policy decisions.
My work with Essex Police, also involved conducting (analysing and reporting on) a number of ad-hoc, qualitative and quantitative, research projects, including the design and analysis of a number of customer satisfaction surveys. I was also involved in a project to determine (interviewing) special constables’ real reasons for leaving. This meant being aware of (research) design issues such as sampling and validity, but also social issues such as respondents not wanting to say anything controversial, and accommodating these within the project and report.
As well as the website which constitutes the interactive CD Rom for my book, I have designed and project managed websites to showcase my photo-editing skills (www.phototransformtions.co.uk), and also one (www.hardofthinking.com – not currently live due to hosting costs) through which people can download versions of my broadcast animations ‘Surgical Procedures for the Hard of Thinking’ (currently being on Propeller TV - Sky Channel 195) to their mobile phones. I designed the site, converted the content and wrote and researched the technical details/procedure, and found third parties who could do the coding for the shopping cart, WAP/e-mail downloads, host the site, collect the on-line payment and send the SMS messages.
Recently, I have been asked to write a chapter for the Encyclopaedia of Applied Ethics on the ‘Confidentiality of Sources’. The resources I used for this included: my own personal reference material, the University of Cambridge library of books, academic journals and on-line resources, the University of Essex library of books and academic journals (for which I had to obtain permission – and gave them copies of my books as a ‘thank you’), the public library system, second-hand and charity book shops, on-line databases and Internet websites.
As a lecturer, I have many years experience of preparing and delivering presentations, and (thanks to my computer animation business) I have a good knowledge of new technologies which can be used for this purpose. I have a good standard of English which has enabled me to achieve three degrees (including an M.Phil. from the University of Cambridge) and two diplomas; much of which was at a time when word processors were not commonly available. I would not have been able to have found a publisher for my work, had there been too much for an editor or copy editor to do.
The breadth of people I have encountered in my life means that I am used to communicating to individuals from different social groups, classes and cultures, with a wide variety of experiences and interests. In the past, this has included senior police officers and Cambridge graduates, as well as the kind of disadvantaged individuals for whom social policies are often formulated (community education, OU and new university teaching). All my teaching work has involved tutoring/mentoring students, often giving informal careers advice to students (and I feel that my knowledge of the education system comes in particularly useful here).
I am very much a team player (given my achievements, I have nothing to gain by putting others down and expect the same level of respect in return); my teaching for the Open University involved working in an ad-hoc team of tutors, which changed from week to week, and year to year. Also, my work at Middlesex involved supporting colleagues, as well as working with them. More recently, I have been working with publishers and broadcasters in order to place my work in the public arena.
As an undergraduate, I was awarded a place to study the second year of my first degree (B.Sc. in Psychology) at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Therefore, not only do I have practical experience of living and working abroad, but I can appreciate the issues and difficulties facing students, studying in a foreign country. While studying in America, I took the opportunity to become involved with their local public access television (Channel 19 for Boulder, Colorado), as well as doing some work with a media studies student, Mark Bierbaum.
My publishing and broadcasting activities have also included investigating ways in which I can promote (and encourage others to promote) my work (and services), as a brand (seeking out those who may have a use for my books or need content for their channels), and pitching to organisations for the funding of the same. I am curently looking into ways of getting an edited version of my M.Phil dissertation published (hopefully in an academic journal). It was off the back of just such an enquiry that I was invited to write the chapter for the ‘Encyclopaedia of Applied Ethics’.
Given the fact that work, study, training and teaching have often run concurrently in my career, I have had to be well organised, as well as self disciplined. My work for Essex Police, involved the production of monthly, performance indicator reports (to monthly deadlines). Similarly, all of my teaching work (from GCSE upwards) has involved the marking of reports, to internal and external standards, and to the requisite deadlines. The chapter I was asked to write for the ‘Encyclopaedia of Applied Ethics’ also had a (six week) deadline which I met with ease, as well as a word limit (of 6,000 words) which I also kept to.
I have devoted much of past 20 years to pursuing an academic (research) career and the calibre of the courses and institutions at which I studied/trained, is reflected in the (still) current demand for my skills. This level of expertise and understanding is also reflected in the fact that I can write original publications on the subject. I am always looking for ways to further my academic career and/or enhance my skill set - the textbooks, the CD Rom, the broadcasts and the websites are all things I have done, proactively, to this end (and this is something I see as an on-going process).
I enjoy the challenge of demonstrating how my expertise in research and data analysis can be applied to new areas; this is why I wrote the Business Supplement for my first text (Interacting with Statistics), and also used my knowledge of IT to design an interactive CD Rom for the same.
With the current economic climate (people looking for a competitive edge), my skills and experiences are becoming more and more in demand. I am still currently publishing and receiving invitations to write for academic publications. As mentioned above, I have recently been asked to write a chapter (on the ‘Confidentiality of Sources’) for the ‘Encyclopaedia of Applied Ethics’ (completed and currently with the editor).
I am a UK National, by birth, and so there is no problem with me being able to work in this country. I also have a full UK driving licence (free of any endorsements), and my own car, as well as a current UK passport. I would, therefore be free to travel throughout the UK (and abroad, if necessary). Given the fact that I am effectively self-employed, I would be available for an immediate start. I look forward to hearing from you in due course.
Mark S. Taylor B.Sc., M.Sc., M.Phil. (Cantab.)
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