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Dr Luke Sloan

Dr Luke Sloan

Reader, Director of Recruitment

School of Social Sciences

+44(0) 29 208 70262
1.12, Glamorgan Building
Media commentator
Available for postgraduate supervision

As Director of Recruitment I sit on the School of Social Sciences Senior Management Team and have oversight of all undergraduate and postgraduate taught admissions, marketing and recruitment activity.

I am Deputy Director of the Social Data Science Lab ( and my work on understanding who uses Twitter through the development of demographic proxies and data linkage is internationally recognised. My background is in Political Science but my interests are primarily methodological and span the Social Sciences, hence my focus on representation, geography, quantitative analysis and modelling, exploring data linkage and social surveys. I work closely with external agencies and government as an expert member of the Social Media Analytics Review and Information Group (SMARIG) and my work has been used in GSR guidance on how Twitter data can be used to augment social research.

I believe in research-informed teaching, so through my role as Co-Director of the Cardiff Q-Step Centre of Excellence in Quantitative Methods Teaching ( I am leading the development of a new degree programme (BSc Social Analytics - UCAS code J3G5) in collaboration with external agencies such as the Office for National Statistics to give graduates the skills they need to thrive in a data-centric world.

Education & Qualifications

  • 2007-2010: PhD (Political Science) University of Plymouth, UK*
  • 2006-2007: MSc (Social Research) University of Plymouth, UK*
  • 2003-2006: BSc Hons (Politics) University of Plymouth, UK

* awarded a 1+3 ESRC Studentship with the Elections Centre, University of Plymouth

Career Overview

  • Nov 2017 - present: Reader, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, UK
  • Apr 2014 - Oct 2017: Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, UK
  • Jan 2011 - Mar 2014: Lecturer, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, UK
  • Oct 2010 - Dec 2010: Research Fellow in Leadership & Governance, Plymouth Business School, University of Plymouth, UK

Honours and awards

  • Winner of the "Most Effective Teacher Award" at the Cardiff University Enriching Student Life Awards for innovation in research methods teaching in 2013
  • "Knowing the Tweeters" shortlisted for Sociological Research Online Best Paper Award in 2013

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Speaking engagements

  • July 2018: What Can Twitter Tell Us About the Social World? Research Youth and Inequality in the Digital Age, University of Glasgow, UK
  • Feb 2018: Linking Twitter and Survey Data. International Symposium on Integrating Survey and Social Media Data, GESIS/CAIS, Germany
  • Jan 2018: Social Science Foo Camp, Facebook HQ Menlo Park, California, USA
  • Nov 2017: Exploring Consent to Data Linkage on the Understanding Society Innovation Panel. 1st European Symposium on Societal Challenges in Computational Social Science, Alan Turing Institute, London, UK
  • Nov 2016: Panel member for SAGE ESRC Festival of Social Science event on ‘Big Data and the Social Sciences’, British Academy, Wednesday 9th November with Mark Kennedy (Imperial) Sharon Witherspoon MBE FAcSS (Campaign for Social Science)
  • Oct 2016: (Key note) First Steps Towards Understanfing Demographic Representation on Twitter, Twitter for Academics, Cardiff University
  • Sept 2016: The Fly in the Ointment? Investigating Demographic Representation on Twitter. UK Data Service Webinar:
  • June 2016: SAGE Big Data Roundtable – Using Big Data to Solve Social Science Problems, SAGE Publishing
  • April 2016: International High profile webinar for SAGE on using Twitter for social research with Joshua Tucker (New York University):
  • April 2016: Growing Your Skills in Social Sciences, workshop delivered for the Higher Education Academy, York
  • Nov 2015: Gaining insights from social media data: collection, analysis and interpretation. Presented at: Supporting Human Rights Organisations to Deliver Insights from Social Media, UK Data Service, University of Essex, UK
  • July 2015: 140 Characters to Victory? Using Twitter to Predict the UK 2015 General Election, Social Media Seminar Series, University of Manchester, Manchester
  • June 2015: Crime-Sensing through Social Media – exploring the relationship between tweets about disorder and recorded crime, Association of Chief Police Officers National Open Source Investigation Conference, Manchester.
  • April 2015: Teaching with Data – State of the Campus, workshop delivered for the Higher Education Academy, Teesside University
  • March 2015: 140 Characters to Victory? Using Twitter to Predict the UK 2015 General Election, Forecasting the British General Election, London School of Economics, London
  • Feb 2015: Applying Demographic Proxies to Twitter Data: a Case Study of Ebola, Social Media in Low and Middle-Income Countries – Interdisciplinary Perspectives (#SoMeKCL), King’s International Development Institute & KISS DTC, London
  • July 2014: Crime-Sensing through Social Media and Demographic Representation, Research Centre for Technological Risk Management (CIGTR), Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (URLC) Madrid:
  • June 2014: Crime-Sensing through Social Media, ACPO Open Source Conference, Manchester
  • May 2014: Embedding Quantitative Methods, NatCen Social Research London (
  • Jan 2013: Learning to Share - Collaboration & QM Teaching Resources Online, Royal Statistical Society London
  • Sept 2012: Space Time as a Sampling Condition for New Social Media Research, Oxford Internet Institute (

Committees and reviewing

Internal Committees/Groups

  • Chair of School of Social Sciences Admissions and Recruitment Committee
  • Member of School of Social Sciences Senior Management Team
  • Member of University First Choice Recruitment and Conversion Project Board
  • Member of School of Social Sciences Teaching and Learning Committee
  • Member of AHSS College Admissions and Recruitment Group
  • Member of University Student Survey Group
  • Member of the steering group for a medium/large project funded under the Cardiff University Education Innovation Fund (“Grand Challenges through Project Based Learning”)

External Committees/Groups

  • Member of the Cathy Marsh Institue for Social Research Advisory Board (University of Manchester)
  • Member of the HEFCE Postgraduate Information Steering Group (PISG)
  • Grant reviewer for ESRC, Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), European Research Council (ERC)
  • Expert member of the Social Media Analytics Review and Innovation Group (SMARIG), set up to provide strategic guidance to government departments and agencies on how social media data can be used for social research










I have three key roles in the University that are directly related to teaching and learning.

As Director of Recruitment I oversee all admissions, recruitment and marketing activities in the School.

As Co-Director of the Cardiff Q-Step Centre of Excellence in Quantitative Methods Teaching (and Teaching Group Coordinator) I am responsible for overseeing the successful implementation and quality control of all our new programme content on BSc Social Analytics. The Q-Step Centre award was given after an international peer-review process and we are 3 years (halfway) into the project.

I also coordinate the annual State of the Campus Project – a week long experiential learning event that all our 300+ returning year two students partake in during the first week of teaching. During this week our students conduct a research project of interest to the University community involving the collection, analysis and presentation of qualitative and quantitative data. In 2015 we focused on student accommodation and this in turn informed the student housing charter with over 1,000 surveys conducted, 200 images captured and 200 interviews transcribed. For 2016 students will be focusing on the issue of race in the University with their findings and analysis potentislly feeding in to the University’s application for the Race Equality Charter Mark.

Teaching/Scholarship Grants (awarded)

  • Q-STEP Centre for Excellence in Quantitative Methods Teaching, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, HEFCE and ESRC (Co-Director, approx. £1.3m)
  • Changing the Learning Landscape, A national Student-Led Survey: creating a cross-institutional survey project through student collected data for better quantitative methods teaching 2013, HEA (Principle Investigator, £750)
  • Innovation in the Assessment of Social Science Research Methods in UK HEIs 2013, HEA (Principle Investigator, £7,900).
  • ESRC Research Development Initiative 2011 (Co-Investigator, approx £90K): a project to develop an international pedagogic network in which good practice can be shared in teaching quantitative methods (QM), ES/J011851/1
  • ESRC Curriculum Innovation 2011 (Co-Investigator, approx £90k): a project to develop new modules in the social science curriculum in which quantitative methods are embedded, ES/J011843/1


I am Deputy Director of the Social Data Science Lab (www. My principle research interests are understanding representation on Twitter and augmenting social media data through data linkage. I have worked on a range of projects investigating the use of Twitter data for understanding social phenomena covering topics such as election prediction, tracking (mis)information propagation during food scares and ‘crime-sensing’. My published work focuses on the development of demographic proxies for Twitter data to further understand who uses the platform and increase the utility of such data for the social sciences. I sit as an expert member on the Social Media Analytics Review and Information Group (SMARIG) which brings together academics and government agencies and work closely with the Office for National Statistics and Food Standards Agency. I am currently involved in three large UK-based social survey studies that are exploring potential linkage between Twitter and survey data – British Social Attitudes 2015, the Welsh Election Study 2016 and the Understanding Society Innovation Panel 2017.

Research Grants (awarded)

  • Hate Crime After Brexit: Linking Terrestrial and New Forms of Data to Inform Governance, ESRC (Co-Investigator, £249,995), ES/S006168/1
  • Social Data Science Lab: Methods and Infrastructure Development for Open Data Analytics in Social Research 2017-2020, ESRC (Co-Investigator, £705,050) ES/P008755/1
  • Welsh Election Study 2016, ESRC (Co-Investigator, £226k) ES/M011127/1
  • Public perceptions of the UK food system: public understanding and engagement, and the impact of crises and scares 2014, ESRC/FSA (Co-Investigator, £291,200), ES/M003329/1
  • NCRM Methodological Innovation Project 2013 (Co-Investigator, approx. £180k): COSMOS 2.0 Social Media Data Mashing, Tension Analysis and Predictive Analytics
  • Nuffield Children, Young People and Families using Social Work Service in Four UK Cohort Studies 2013(Co-Investigator, approx. £150k): a project investigating social worker contact with respondent the Millennium Cohort Study, ALPAC, BHPS and LSYPE
  • European Social Fund (ESF) Women Adding Value to the Economy 2012 – WAVE (Co-Investigator, approx. £1m): A project investigating the gender pay gap in Wales, particular responsibility for quantitative strand involving supervision of a research associate

Current supervision

Jennifer Hampton

Research student

Rhiannon Yapp

Research student