Decolonising quantitative research methods pedagogy: teaching contemporary politics to challenge hierarchies from data

Zwiener, Nadine, Jafri, Juvaria, Saini, Rima ORCID logoORCID: and Poulter, Tabitha (2021) Decolonising quantitative research methods pedagogy: teaching contemporary politics to challenge hierarchies from data. Politics . ISSN 0263-3957 [Article] (Published online first) (doi:10.1177/02633957211041449)

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Decolonisation of the curriculum in higher education is a radical, transformative process of change that interrogates the enduring Eurocentric and racist narratives surrounding the production of academic ‘knowledge’. Our key argument is that it is essential for students of politics to understand the authorities and hierarchies exerted through quantitative data. In this paper, we show that (1) quantitative methods and data literacy can be an explicit tool in the endeavour to challenge structures of oppression, and (2) there is a need to apply decolonial principles to the teaching of quantitative methods, prioritising the historical contextualisation and anti-racist critique of the ways in which statistics amplify existing micro and macro power relations. To explain how this can be done, we begin with a commentary on the ‘state of decolonisation’ in higher education, its relevance to the sub-disciplines of politics, and its application to quantitative teaching in the UK. We then suggest some guiding principles for a decolonial approach to quantitative methods teaching, and present substantive examples from political sociology, international political economy, and international development. These suggestions and examples show how a decolonial lens advances critical and emancipatory thinking in undergraduate students of politics when it is used with quantitative methods.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): Decolonisation; Quantitative Methods; Teaching and Learning; Pedagogy; Diversity & Inclusion
Research Areas: A. > School of Law
Item ID: 33584
Notes on copyright: Zwiener-Collins N, Jafri J, Saini R, Poulter T. Decolonising quantitative research methods pedagogy: Teaching contemporary politics to challenge hierarchies from data. Politics. August 2021, doi:10.1177/02633957211041449. Copyright © The Author(s) 2021
Published version: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
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Depositing User: Rima Saini
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2021 11:33
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 17:45

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